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'Nothing from up top': Billy Proctor staying patient after All Blacks XV tour

By Adam Julian
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

In September 2018, Billy Proctor created history when he signed a five-year deal with the Hurricanes.

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At the time it was the longest contract a rookie had signed for a New Zealand Super Rugby franchise.

In 2023 Proctor was awarded Hurricanes Player of the Year. He amassed 850 minutes in a dozen appearances and carried on his stoic and clinical form with the All Blacks XV in Japan.

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In the second match of the tour, he scored four tries in a 41-27 win over the Brave Blossoms in Tokyo.

“It was a few catches and put-downs,” Proctor humbly told RugbyPass.

“I’d never scored a hat-trick in my career so it was pretty cool to get four tries.

“Japan was a cool experience. It’s a very polite and interesting culture over there.

“It was 30 degrees every day which is a bit different to Wellington too.”

With All Blacks David Havili, Braydon Ennor, Dallas McLeod, and Jack Goodhue all suffering injuries this season, and Alex Nankivell bound for Munster, the hot form of Procter was timely.

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Had he heard from the National selectors?

“There’s been nothing from up top. I’m just going about my business. Doing that, the other stuff will take care of itself,” Procter responded.

Understated, measured, and diligent are qualities that have made Procter enduringly appealing to coaches and teammates.

He flourished in Japan beside Stephen Perofeta and Jack Goodhue.

“Stephen’s awesome. Cool and claim. He knows what he’s doing, and can really light it up,” Proctor acclaimed.

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“Jack is world-class. We were still learning from each other when the tour ended. It was awesome to be in that environment.”

Proctor has been in a professional rugby environment since he was a teenager. His brother Matt Proctor was previously a centre for the Hurricanes who made 66 appearances between 2013 and 2019 and was capped by the All Blacks in a 69-31 win against Japan in Toyko in 2019. TJ Perenara compared the two brothers in 2020.

“Billy is a lot like his brother. He’s very very good defensively. He understands defensive reads, offensive shifts, makes good calls defensively.

“Then offensively, he’s a big, strong kid who you put him in half a gap, he’ll take it.”

Little appears to have changed but Billy has definitely matured.

“That feels like a long time ago. I’ve pretty much learned everything I know about rugby and life at the Hurricanes. It’s a privilege to be in this environment. It has its ups and downs. You’ve got to work hard every day, look to build all the time.”

Billy has scored a dozen tries in 46 games for the Hurricanes and will shortly be a vital cog in the Wellington Lions defense of the NPC and Ranfurly Shield titles won in 2022. Proctor has featured 48 times for Wellington, including wins in 10 out of 11 appearances last year.

“That was a memorable one. It was pretty cool to be a part of a run championship. We definitely have what it takes to repeat. We will be building slowly before peaking at the end of the season hopefully.”

The Wellington Lions start their NPC campaign on Saturday in Palmerston North against Manawatu. All Blacks Asafo Aumua, Dominic Bird, and Julian Savea will likely be in the match-day squad.

Proctor re-signed with the Hurricanes for another two seasons.

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Comments

3 Comments
E
Euan 297 days ago

Unfortunately, the AB centres field is packed, so he may as well make $ where he can.

D
Dave 307 days ago

Yep he's one of those players who's everywhere doing everything, always supporting which lead to those four tries, hopefully next year things will keep picking up for him.

U
Utiku Old Boy 307 days ago

Probably has the up-side to go to the next level and be a success. These kinds of players need feedback though or else they will be plucked by the global markets...

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