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Samisoni Taukei'aho on Dane Coles, Asafo Aumua and the Bledisloe Cup

By Adam Julian
Samisoni Taukei'aho and Dane Coles at All Blacks training. Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Samisoni Taukei’aho affectionately called former All Blacks teammate Dane Coles “grandad.” 

The pair are separated by a decade but Taukei’aho credits the Hurricanes veteran for making him feel welcome in the All Blacks, and for providing invaluable life lessons on and off the field.

Taukei’aho edged Coles for a place on the bench in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final. There were no hard feelings.

“Colesy told me to take nothing for granted in life. Always work hard and take your opportunity when you’re given it,” Taukei’aho told RugbyPass.

“To go to the World Cup so early in my career was awesome. Like the rest of New Zealand, I was disappointed we didn’t get the job done but sometimes that’s life and you have to keep on trucking.”

Taukei’aho was feeling philosophical prior to beating the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby Pacific semi-final in Wellington.

Taukei’aho jousted with explosive contemporary Asafo Aumua, who is looking to regain his place in the All Blacks possibly at the expense of Taukei’aho.

“It is always a good battle against Asafo. We’re similar players with respect for each other,” Taukei’aho said.

“New Zealand derbies are quicker, they come down to small moments. The Hurricanes have lots of power players. We need to stop their forward momentum and prevent their backs from finishing.”

The Chiefs were seeking to avoid three consecutive defeats against the Hurricanes for the first time since 2020. In their previous meetings three weeks prior, the Chiefs disastrously conceded 15 of the last 16 penalties in a narrow 17-20 defeat.

“We don’t want to hold back too much but discipline will be a huge factor in the match. There is a balance between chasing and waiting but we will be pushing the limit.

“We’ve been in this situation before so experience will help us. Our wins in past finals give us confidence we can get the job done.”

Taukei’aho would almost certainly add to his 30 All Blacks Test matches this year if healthy, but an Achilles injury in the semi-final threatens his international season.

Related

Taukei’aho scored two tries on debut in a 60-13 win over Fiji in Hamilton in 2021. Over 40 members of his Tongan family attended the game.

Taukei’aho achieved seven of his ten All Blacks starts in 2022, winning the Ian Clarke Award as Waikato Player of the Year. Memorably he scored two tries against the Wallabies in Melbourne. The hosts were denied victory when leading 37-34 and Bernard Foley was controversially penalised by Frenchman Mathieu Raynal for wasting time. From the ensuing scrum, Jordie Barrett scored a try for the All Blacks.

“That was a crazy game. We got ahead by a few tries and as the Wallabies do, they crawled back and it turned into an arm wrestle,” Taukei’aho reflected.

“One of my tries was from a maul so I can hardly claim that one. The other, I was given the ball and the try line was right there.

“What I remember most is the emotions of watching the end of the game from the bench. That’s not a good place to be. So many emotions. When Jordie scored it was a relief.”

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
4
Draws
0
Wins
1
Average Points scored
27
14
First try wins
80%
Home team wins
80%

A consistent Codie Taylor and resurgent Dane Coles restricted Taukei’aho to just two All Blacks starts last year. However, in 2024 Taukei’aho is throwing to the most accurate lineout in Super Rugby. In December 2023 he happily married his ‘Boss’ Caitlin Lawry, a realtor in Hamilton. The couple are expecting a baby boy later this year.

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Comments

3 Comments
T
Troy 22 days ago

Totally agree David, if we cast our minds back to Johannesburg ‘22 to the do or die clash with Sth Africa, when we had just lost the Irish series, lost to Argentina and were teetering on the edge of ignominy and falling to our lowest ranking ever, Foster and co finally bit the bullet and scuppered the front row ( which included the faltering and woefully inconsistent Taylor), bringing in Lomax, Taukei'aho and De Groot first timers in the most important game for the All Blacks since maybe the WC final in 2011. Due to their incredible performance in that game in neutralising the Bok's power base - their scrum and providing an disciplined, accurate and strong carrying display, Lomax, Taukei'aho and De Groot have rightfully earned their place as our premiere front rowers. By 2023 Taukei'aho was being spoke of as a powerhouse equal to Marx and Sheehan in world rankings.
But since the introduction of Ryan there has been a noticeable tendency to select Taylor at any given opportunity until he starts to show some consistency and then citing that as the reason for his starting over Taukei'aho. There is no anti Crusaders conspiracy here Tim, just a long held adherence to the All Black mantra in that “you play your way out of the jersey” once you've fought your way in.
Samisoni Taukei'aho has never played his way out of the jersey.
Go the Hurricanes.

D
David 24 days ago

The arrival of Ryan at AB level coincides with the elevation of Taylor and demotion of Samisoni. So even if he was fit Taylor would start as Ryan is still there with even more power.

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