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Hoskins Sotutu stakes claim for All Blacks No 8 in Savea's absence

By Ben Smith
Hoskins Sotutu of the Blues is tackled during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between Hurricanes and Blues at Sky Stadium, on March 11, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Hoskins Sotutu missed the chance to square off against starting All Black No 8 Ardie Savea, but the Blues dynamo put in a performance to bolster his chances of retaining his All Blacks role.


The 24-year-old was instrumental for the Blues in their 25-19 win over the Hurricanes, coming up with big plays in big moments to help seal the win including a try and a couple of huge turnovers in the dying moments.

Hoskins was a work horse for the Blues taking 11 carries for 84 metres while coming up with 11 tackles in defence as he faced off against young upstart Peter Lakai, who was equally impressive in his first start at the back of the scrum.

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“Every week I know my job is to be the main go-forward guy,” Sotutu explained to Sky Sport NZ post-match.

“On attack I try to get busy, get us on the gain line and get us going forward which makes everyone else’s job easier.”

The Blues No 8 scored a critical try right on half-time after dropping underneath Perofeta on a switch.

Sotutu looked for the offload before stretching out to score in the tackle of his opposite number Lakai.


The try gave the Blues a 22-5 lead which proved vital in the end as the failed to score a try in the second half.

“The try was just working off Stevey [Perofeta] there, he’s dangerous with the ball asking questions of the D line and then I’m just trying to finish off him,” he said of his try.

The Blues looked to be in control with one minute left and a scrum inside their own 22 but a big shove from the Hurricanes won a penalty and the chance to steal the game at the death.

The Hurricanes used a quick tap which had the Blues scrambling but a decision to kick the ball in-behind while under penalty advantage by Jordie Barrett let them off the hook.


From the next penalty they changed their approach, opting for a scrum, where Lakai tried to bulldoze his way over breaking off the back of the scrum.

Some big defence from the Blues held him out before a strong two-man tackle by Rieko Ioane and Sotutu a few phases later allowed the Blues to counter-ruck and win back possession to end the game.

Minutes before that Sotutu had snuffed out another Hurricanes raid by stealing a ruck turnover after Jordie Barrett crashed the ball up on first phase.

The Blues No 8 came up big in the final stages to stop two possessions including the final chance for the home side.

Blues head coach Leon Macdonald was extremely pleased with his side’s goal line stand after scoring just three points in the second half as the home side fought back into the contest.

“The way we defended that line at the end there, that was pretty awesome,” Macdonald said.

“They just put us under so much pressure.

“In this competition there are big moments right through it and you’ve got to try and grab them.

“We were able to grab it tonight and we weren’t last week.”


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