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'He is definitely the future': All Blacks new hooker hailed after South Africa tour

By Sam Smith
Samisoni Taukie'aho. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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The two match tour of South Africa might be the turning point for the All Blacks front row with a new look outfit impressing across the two tests.

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Facing the strength of the Springboks and the famed ‘bomb squad’, Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho was a clear stand out performer fighting fire with fire against the Boks pack.

The 25-year-old got the chance to start at hooker in both tests over experienced veterans Codie Taylor and Dane Coles.

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Speaking on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown, former Blues and Leinster midfielder Isa Nacewa said that the explosive No 2 has won the right to keep the jersey going forward.

“In my eyes, he starts,” Nacewa said of the Chiefs hooker.

“He’s been given an opportunity and stepped up in one of the harshest places on Earth to actually go.

“His ability to win the metre and get involved, he doesn’t shy away from any of the contact whatsoever.

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“He hit the nuggets in the lineout, just repeat efforts, he gets off the ground and does more every single game.”

Strong ball carrying has always been the focal point of Taukei’aho’s game but against the Springboks he brought physical defence, a clinical set-piece game and for the most part nailed his lineout throws.

After operating at 80 per cent against Ireland, the All Blacks lineout improved to 88 per cent in the first test with Taukei’aho completing 14 of 16 targets.

In the second test win at Ellis Park the 115kg hooker scored a key try in the first half using his power to barge over Lukhanyo Am from close range and continued to wreck havoc in his 13th test match.

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Former Ireland international Isaac Boss said that there is work to do with his game but that he is the guy that the All Blacks should now build the front row around.

“I still think there is a lot of growth left in his game, he’s not the finished product. He needs a bit of consistency there,” he said.

“There is still an important role for those other hookers to play around him.

“I think he has come along and he is definitely the future in that No 2 shirt and he needs as much time as possible.

Former All Black fullback Mils Muliaina echoed the Irish scrumhalf’s sentiment and explained the positive for the All Blacks is now he will now force the others to lift their game to find form after being below their best.

“Our very experienced hookers aren’t in very good form,” Muliaina said.

“So it’s great for him to get out there, he is the form hooker at the moment and it creates competition.

“Now guys like Codie Taylor have plateaued a little bit, and it happens in careers.

“All it will do now is those guys will lift.

“I like the point that you made Bossy, he’s not the finished product but he’s got an opportunity to continue to grow and push these other guys as well.”

 

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