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Hurricanes re-sign rising star Peter Lakai for three more seasons

By Finn Morton
Peter Lakai of the Hurricanes scores a try during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between Blues and Hurricanes at Eden Park, on May 11, 2024, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes have re-signed one of the brightest rugby prospects in New Zealand with 21-year-old loose forward Peter Lakai recommitting for another three seasons until at least the end of 2027.


Lakai was recognised as one of the Hurricanes’ Player of the Year on Wednesday, along with uncapped All Blacks centre Billy Proctor, after a sensational season with the Super Rugby Pacific heavyweights.

In a team blessed with depth in the backrow, Lakai was a mainstay in the starting side by wearing the No. 7 on 10 occasions. The loose forward also wore the No. 8 jersey in the round one win over the Western Force and made four appearances off the pine.

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While fans around the nation have talked the former New Zealand U20 flanker up as a future All Black, Lakai appears focused on doing the yellow and black jersey justice in the years to come at Super Rugby level.

“I was born in Auckland, but moved here when I was young, so Wellington is home, the Hurricanes is home,” Lakai said in a statement.

“I spent a lot of my childhood supporting the Canes so to run out each week in the jersey means a lot.

“It’s a constant learning curve, the players in our team have so much experience and talent, so you can’t help but want to learn and grow areas of your game.”


Lakai has long been talked about as a generational talent. The exciting talent out of St Pat’s Silverstream was picked by the New Zealand U20s straight out of high school, and an NPC debut with Wellington was just around the corner at 18 years of age.

But that was just the beginning. Lakai played another two years with the ‘Baby Blacks’ at U20s level, including co-captaining the side at the 2023 U20 World Championship, and joined the Hurricanes on a National Development Contract in 2022.

At just 19, Lakai won the NZ Rugby Age-Grade Player of the Year and finished on a figurative podium in the race for the Duane Monkley Medal in the NPC.

It’s not hard to see why Lakai has already become such a key figure within the Hurricanes’ set-up, and why the team are thrilled to have the enforcer sign on for a further few years.


“Peter is an impressive athlete, but more so as a person he shows great humility and maturity for someone so young,” Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw added.

“He’s had three years in the U20 system and with the Hurricanes which has helped him to develop his game on and off the field, and his performances for the team are a by-product of the work which he has done.

“The core of our squad is really starting to come of age and has been developing over the past few seasons. We’ve been lucky enough to see it come to fruition, with some strong performances in 2024, so 2025 will be an exciting one, that’s for sure.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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finn 6 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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