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Calls mount for Hoskins Sotutu allegiance switch with 3 possibilities

By Josh Raisey
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 20: Hoskins Sotutu of the Blues looks on ahead of the round nine Super Rugby Pacific match between Blues and ACT Brumbies at Eden Park, on April 20, 2024, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

No sooner had Blues No8 Hoskins Sotutu failed to make Scott Robertson’s first All Blacks squad on Monday than calls were rising for the 25-year-old to make an allegiance switch.

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The Blues forward was the headline omission from Robertson’s 32-player squad, with Chiefs No8 Wallace Sititi getting the nod instead.

Sotutu put forward a convincing case to earn a recall this season for the Blues, not only winning the Super Rugby Pacific title, but by scoring twelve tries in the process (joint-top with Sevu Reece).

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Though he does of course have the option of fighting for a place in the All Blacks squad, he does have alternative routes back to the Test stage.

The 14-cap All Black qualifies for Fiji through his father and England through his mother and, having earned his last cap in 2022, qualifies for both next year after a three-year stand-down period.

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Eddie Jones did indeed pursue the No8 in 2020 before he was capped by Ian Foster, and he may turn some RFU heads again with this latest squad announcement.

With England in New Zealand for their two-Test series with the All Blacks, Steve Borthwick might even use this as an opportunity to strike up a dialogue with the spurned All Black.

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The No8 position has been the cause of contention in England as well, with the likes of Alfie Barbeary and Zach Mercer failing to make Steve Borthwick’s squad with a burgeoning list of players at the back of the scrum at his disposal. Mercer, coincidentally, is now eligible to play for New Zealand through his father, a former New Zealand rugby league international, and having last played for England in 2018.

Former Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui has already called for Sotutu to make an international switch as well, taking to X soon after the All Blacks squad was announced to write: “Congratulations to Wallace Sititi, but seriously no Hoskins Sotutu….come and play for Fiji!”

Whatever Sotutu chooses next year, there is little doubt that he will be an asset to any Test side.

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105 Comments
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steve 22 days ago

I was looking forward to Razor taking over for so long but when you have clear bias towards your old club despite them being useless all year followed by more clear bias towards the 3rd best team at the expense of the actual deserving All Black Captain (a.k.a most recent World Player of the year) and the 2 best teams it is very disappointing.

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Billy 23 days ago

Two Cents rugby did a great analysis and Sotutu comes last in all defence stats compared to all other chosen loosies. And in Tests both sides of the ball are important. His attack is well made up with Ardie in the team and a starting 8. Also, Sotutu can only play 8 when all other loosies can play one more position at this level. Lastly dude is a man-child, an Instagram sulk and a show-pony. Glad he’s not in the team.

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Haami 23 days ago

Hoskins, my man, in the immortal words of Sam Smith “Stay with me”, 😂

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B.J. Spratt 23 days ago

Dear RUGBY, You sound like a Schoolteacher or a Boer or both. The Christie reference gave you away and your lack of “humour”

I tell people to keep away from Negative people like you. You are a S.N.I.O.P Subject To The Negative Influence Of Other People.

English speaking South Africans are educated and well mannered, unlike you. Your abuse is obviously part of your nature. That doesn’t worry me at all.

Your “negativity” seems to indicate you are “Unhappy” and that does concern me.

I want to help you Rugby.

Just sit down, chill out and have a couple of Boerewors, a dozen Castle Lager and watch a highlights reel of the Crusaders greatest WINS. You will feel so much better.

Hopefully you will see Robertson do his “Break Dance” I know you Boers just love that!

Then you will better informed of how the “Greatest Rugby Coach of the modern era” operates to WIN 7 Consecutive Super Rugby Championships OR you can

Raak net befok jou idioot

P
Peter 23 days ago

He won a title with the blues ….and performed day in and out….razor it’s like training in the old days you show up you train you play simple and he’s a big and up coming asset …loosing to men good players to other countries

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Alexander 24 days ago

There has been several comments made since the team announcement about Razors Crusaders bias. Just a quick question Do those who have made such comments remember how the last Blues v Crusaders match turned out?

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Nickers 24 days ago

While all the individual analysis makes sense - work rates, post contact metres, (body language?) etc…. The Blues pack absolutely dominated the Chiefs pack, in fact the Chiefs forwards were not great throughout the entire SR season. The only time they laid a platform against another good team all year was in the SF vs the Canes. And they did thoroughly outplay a much hyped Canes forward pack.

Yet 4 of the chiefs forwards, who repeatedly came up second best when faced with another good pack are in the squad, and would probably be 5 if Samisoni was fit.

If their forwards are so great at all the intangibles Robertson and Ryan have mentioned in interviews, why did they not dominate more games?

Same across the whole Chiefs team really. They make up a huge amount of the ABs squad, but only really turned up to one game all season.

They are all great players for sure, but if you look at the results across the season…. Maybe the stats the selectors are looking at aren’t the ones that matter to actually get results? Otherwise surely the Crusaders and Chiefs would have had better results?

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Jon 24 days ago

So he has a year to get himself in that All Black environment. My money is on Hoskins cracking that in this years 3 squads, and once he is in, they will find there is every reason he should stay there.

He is the perfect foil to help Ardie reach the World Cup. Leon on the breakdown talked about picking wingers who are able to make those last few meters to get across the try line from close range. It’s not my wish but they appear to going the scientific route and manipulating their way forward to the goal line, and rather that someone likes Read’s linebreaking, they will want to ensure the forwards have that ability to get across the line through simple tactics. Ardie does, and Sotutu has both assisted others in it, and done it himself expertly this year. We saw Akira putting that skill on display for the first try in last weeks final, otherwise, players Riccitelli, didn’t have the physique or skill to do it against the Chiefs top defence. The All Blacks have been very guilty of not being able to take such opportunities in the last 4 years. Sititi doesn’t yet have that experience, he is more of the natural runner that Read was, but will serve as a great foil filling in at 8 this year, but I think it will be Sotutu that we see brought in to start the games in place of Ardie, whos had to play back to back competitions since Super Rugby started last year.

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CO 24 days ago

WRU needs to close this loophole, it only benefits the home unions. Hoskins was born in NZ, has been developed and played all his professional rugby in NZ. There should be no right for England or any other tier one nation to select him now. Fiji and the other small island state’s is a different story, that should be okay but not the UK with its already massive player base.

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JD Kiwi 24 days ago

The 21yo Sititi’s defensive workrate is already so superior to Sotutu’s and that was probably the difference. There wasn't room in the squad for a third 8.

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finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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