Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World



Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.'

The former England and Lions centre, leaves Kingsholm a legend after over a decade's service, and in that time he has matured into a man

RugbyPass+ Home

The All Black set to benefit the most from new rule change

By Ben Smith
Hoskins Sotutu, Akira Ioane of the Blues look on ahead of the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlanders and Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium, on February 25, 2023, in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Super Rugby’s raft introduction of rule changes to speed the game up received a ringing endorsement from Western Force coach Simon Cron, but the flow-on effects are set to benefit players as well.


One rule change in particular has altered the set-piece platform, with the defending halfbacks no longer allowed past the tunnel on scrums, allowing for cleaner ball for the attacking side.

The defending No 9 was able to harass his opposite number while blocking one running path for the No 8 under the old rules.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Speaking on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown, Sir John Kirwan believed that Blues No 8 Hoskins Sotutu is primed to take advantage of the new rule.

In the Blues dominant 60-20 point win over the Highlanders the No 8 clocked up 82 running metres on 12 carries while producing five offloads.

“I really think that these new rules are going to help Hoskins [Sotutu],” Kirwan told The Breakdown panel.

“I think Hoskins is an incredibly talented ball player, we saw that in the weekend.


“So if he gets a little more time I hope he is really going to have a breakout season.”

Hoskins Sotutu burst onto the scene in 2020 as one of Super Rugby’s premier ball carrying threats that dominated the gain line.

His form was so damaging that the Blues pushed previous No 8 Akira Ioane into a new role on the blindside to allow Sotutu to start.

The then 22-year-old rode his form into the All Blacks squad but fell down the pecking order in his second season.


Sotutu earned a recall in 2022 but managed a lone start in Melbourne against the Wallabies when Ardie Savea stayed behind in New Zealand for the birth of his child.

The other impressive loose forward that Kirwan rated after the opening round was Crusaders blindside Ethan Blackadder.

“How hard does Ethan Blackadder run? That’s a great option for the All Blacks as well,” Kirwan said.

Blackadder made his All Black debut in 2021 but injury prevented him from having a follow up season.

In the opening round against the Chiefs, his hard running caught the eye of former New Zealand 7s rep Karl Te Nana.

“You see the first replay, the line that he ran, the gain line that he got but he had no regard for his own body,” he said.

“That’s what he brings, he’s got that toughness, that hard running. Good luck in that 10 channel.”



Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
TRENDING ‘He’s a little bit frustrated’: Crusaders star ruled out of quarter-final Sam Whitelock ruled out of Crusaders’ quarter-final