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Jason Ryan 'fell in love pretty quickly' with All Blacks bolter Pasilio Tosi

By Ned Lester
Pasilio Tosi of the All Blacks. Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images

Pasilio Tosi is the All Blacks bolter many may not have been expecting, but the 25-year-old’s form and physicality have seen him named in the 32-man squad to face England and Fiji in July.

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A mountainous prop who was employed largely off the bench for the Hurricanes in 2024 but performed exceptionally well in the starting unit when filling in during Tyrel Lomax’s injury spell, Tosi was one of the few players in attendance for the squad naming.

Naturally, the 140kg former No. 8 was wearing a wide smile and admitted his heart was racing backstage, even with the knowledge his name would be called.

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He recalled the story of receiving the good news after a week of training with a wider group that excluded the Super Rugby Pacific finalists.

“Normally I’m not one to answer calls from unknown numbers, but when we got told at the pre-camp ‘you’ll be getting a call on Monday if you made it or not’, I was just on edge all weekend,” he said at the event.

The big prop told the story of how his kids had woken him up in the morning, and he was “just strolling upstairs in my jocks. Holy heck, I’d just woke up.”

It was a moment of mild chaos in the Tosi household with a tantrum being thrown and a movie on in the background as the Hurricanes gun answered Scott Robertson’s call.

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“It’s a feeling I can’t really put into words, but I’m excited to learn and hopefully during the season I’ll be able to pull on that jersey and do everyone proud.”

While external expectations for the prop were limited, Tosi revealed there were some quiet conversations going on throughout the season that gave him the idea he was in the selection discussion.

“I heard just little whispers throughout the season, saying just keep chipping away, you’re close, you’re almost there.

“But, I didn’t want to let it get to my head, I wanted to just get out there and have fun and play rugby. When I first started playing it was because I love playing it, I didn’t play it for all the other stuff, I love running with the ball.”

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Tosi pinpointed his mentors at the Hurricanes and an ego check as major factors in his successful switch from No. 8 to prop.

“Moving to prop was probably the best thing I could’ve done. The hardest thing about it was checking my ego, telling myself I could make it at eight, but realistically no eight is running around at 140 clicks (kilos).

“It was the best change for me, and it was just once I got my ego in check, I was able to change to prop and got better coaching and learning off one of the best players in Tyrel (Lomax). Learning off Jamie Mackintosh as well, big shoutout to him, he’s helped me come a long way with my scrummaging.

“Just getting that all knuckled down, I was then able to just focus on my game.”

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The Hurricanes scrum was marching opponents backwards all year, and Tosi was just one of a number of front rowers from the club impressing as the Hurricanes claimed the top seed on the Super Rugby Pacific table.

Xavier Numia was expected to be in the mix for All Blacks selection before his injury, and former All Blacks XV selectees Tevita Mafileo and Pouri Rakete-Stones have continued their strong work around the set piece and beyond.

Tosi’s mindset when speaking at the event showed he was ready to take the opportunity with both hands.

“My heart was racing when I was chilling out the back and they were announcing the squad, and then once I heard my name, that was when it felt real to me, that I was in the squad and I could potentially put on that jersey this year.

“I don’t want it to be given to me, I want to earn it. Hopefully, throughout the season I can earn that jersey and be able to do it proud.”

Scott Robertson was asked what went into Tosi’s selection and had some jokes over the bromance between the All Blacks rookie and forwards coach Jason Ryan.

“Jason Ryan, he fell in love pretty quickly, it was like MAFS (Married at First Sight),” the coach laughed.

“He’s just an incredible athlete, he took his opportunity when Tyrel was out. he can start, he can come off the bench, he’s a big man and that’s what test football’s about.

“He’s a great kid and he’s going to do well in the black jersey.”

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Comments

6 Comments
C
Chiefs Mana 18 days ago

Come anchor our scrum at the Chiefs next year!

N
Nickers 19 days ago

What a moment that must have been to receive that call.

Maybe time to get Mackintosh involved in the ABs set up as well. Hurricanes front row is operating on another level this year, even with so many injury disruptions. He has taken two guys relatively new to the front row (Numia and Tosi) and got them ABs ready in a short space of time, as well as helping Aumua leap frog everyone to be the best scrummaging 2 in the country.

T
T-Bone 19 days ago

Great story
A surprise but a good one! Fast and powerful number 8 playing prop now at 140ks
Scary and French like!

Will he get on the bench? Might be tough with Williams and Newell

l
leigh 19 days ago

Beaut article which portrays his hardworking and inspirational character.

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