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'Reminds me a bit of Christian Cullen': Ex-All Black makes Love comparison

By Ben Smith
Ruben Love of the Hurricane running with the ball during the round nine Super Rugby Pacific match between Fijian Drua and Hurricanes at HFC Stadium, on April 19, 2024, in Suva, Fiji. (Photo by Pita Simpson/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes impressive fullback Ruben Love is the form No 15 in Super Rugby according to former All Black Justin Marshall.

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His form back three included two All Blacks in Caleb Clarke and Sevu Reece, but the 22-year-old fullback who has been “sensational” couldn’t be ignored.

The dynamic playmaker has illustrated all his skills on the end of a firing backline at the Hurricanes and higher honours could be coming.

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Marshall compared the young fullback to two All Blacks, Will Jordan and retired legend Christian Cullen.

“When you think of the style of player that Will Jordan is, who is missing out of our game at the moment, Ruben Love really reminds me of him,” Marshall explained to Sky Sport’s The Breakdown.

“And he reminds me a bit of Christian Cullen and the way he used to play.

“His explosive step that he’s got, the ability to think about counter-attack first, not when he gets kicked the ball and think ‘okay I’ll kick it back’, he’s like ‘can I open up this defence by running at them’ and taking on a defender I can see is compromised.

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“I just love that attitude.

“His spark and his energy are a big part of why the Hurricanes are so dangerous.”

The Hurricanes have the most prolific attack in the competition after eight rounds, registering 37.4 points per game and 5.4 tries per game, the most in the competition.

They are also ranked first in offloads, line breaks, and defenders beaten, highlighting the explosive talent they have.

Love has been a phenomenal ball player out wide with five try assists, but as a running threat himself he has seven line breaks and two tries. His seven line breaks are second most on the team behind winger Josh Moorby with 12.

The Hurricanes’ No 15 is certainly building a case for an All Blacks call up but there is plenty of competition.

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Chiefs fullback Shaun Stevenson has also been making plays with five try assists himself, equal with Love for fourth most in the competition, while Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens has five tries in seven games for the Highlanders.

Beauden Barrett is also an option at fullback after playing there for the All Blacks at last year’s Rugby World Cup, who will return after a stint with Toyota Verblitz.

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Abe 1 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

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