Samisoni Taukei'aho called into All Blacks squad as injury cover
An uncapped prospect, Taukei’aho’s call-up is good reward for the 23-year-old’s solid form in Super Rugby, where he has established himself as a strong ball carrier and reliable at the set piece.
As such, the 23-year-old will be in contention to make his test debut as early as this Saturday when the All Blacks host Fiji at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
He will be in contention with seasoned veteran Codie Taylor and Dane Coles for a place in the match day squad, but both Foster and defence coach Scott McLeod have confirmed in recent days that opportunities will be provided for everyone in the All Blacks squad throughout the July test series.
That is promising news for Taukei’aho, who could also feature in next week’s clash against Fiji in Hamilton if he doesn’t play this weekend.
Against Tonga in Auckland, Coles and Aumua were the hookers used by the All Blacks, with the former starting – and leading the haka for the first time in his career – before being replaced by the latter in the 47th minute.
Born in Tonga, Taukei’aho first moved to New Zealand on a rugby scholarship at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton in 2013 after touring the country with the Tongan U15 national side.
The 1.83m, 115kg rake has since moved his way up the ranks in the New Zealand rugby system, having represented the New Zealand Schools team in 2015 before debuting for Waikato two years later.
A Chiefs debut followed in 2018, which caught the eye of Tongan selectors ahead of the 2019 World Cup, but Taukei’aho knocked back the chance to play for his homeland as he chased the black jersey.
Now in the All Blacks camp, that dream could become a reality in the coming days and weeks.
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