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The former 1st XV loose forward now making it as a winger with the Hurricanes

By Adam Julian
(Photo by Elias Rodriguez/Getty Images)

A former loose forward converting to the wing after college and becoming a star with the Hurricanes. It sounds like Jonah Lomu.


“I wish,” new Hurricanes rookie Daniel Sinkinson laughed.

“I’m a little bit small to be Jonah.”

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Sinkinson might lack the size of the late, great All Black, but he doesn’t suffer from a lack of perseverance.

The building apprentice, raised on a farm in Te Kuiti was uncertain whether he even had an NPC contract with Waikato last year. At the beginning of the 2022 season, he was living “week to week.”

“I wasn’t going to play. My understanding was that I was going to be paid a retainer, but it took a while to come through, so I rang the coaches and asked if I’d be needed,” he told RugbyPass.

“They encouraged me to be patient and I ended up starting every game.”


Sinkinson had debuted for Waikato in a 37-33 win against Bay of Plenty in 2021, it was his only appearance in the Premiership-winning season.

He started 2022 by scoring a try in the first game of the season, a 32-32 draw against Hawkes Bay where Liam Messam reached 100 games for Waikato.

The Mooloos caught fire initially residing at the top of the table three-quarters of the way through the round-robin. Sinkinson played blinders against Auckland scoring once, Manawatu scoring twice and Southland scoring a hat-trick.

Unfortunately, Waikato fizzled out at the business end of the season, toppled by Bay of Plenty in the quarter-finals, despite converting 34 of their 40 tries.


“The boys are pretty tight, and the culture is unreal. I guess that’s what lockdown and seven weeks of literally living together in 2021 do.

“Personally it was awesome to play in the same backline as Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown. They’ve got so much experience and they give you so much space and opportunity.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got a call from Jason Holland asking to play for the Hurricanes. It’s a weird story but I couldn’t be more stoked.”

Much of the Hurricanes legend has been built by its wingers.

The aforementioned Lomu (29 games, 11 tries), Cory Jane (121 games, 32 tries), Wes Goosen (71 games, 31 tries), Tana Umaga (122 games, 47 tries), Julian Savea (142 games, 59 tries), Hosea Gear (70 games, 26 tries), Nehe Milner Skudder (36 games, 8 tries) and Vince Aso (58 games, 23 tries) are just some of the names who have breathed life into the Hurricanes exciting, “expect the unexpected” reputation.


How will Sinkinson add to the legacy?

“It’s pretty surreal training with the bus and being coached by CJ. I’m learning every day,” he said.

“Wing is different from what it used to be. There is much more to think about like running lines, high balls, kicking, and finishing. Against some teams, it’s like there are three fullbacks on the field.”

Versatility in rugby has been a theme for Sinkinson. He started as a loose forward, good enough to make the Hamilton Boys’ High School First XV in 2018 that won Super 8 and made the National Top Four losing to eventual winners St Peter’s College, Auckland in the semi-finals.

“As a flanker, I was quick on the side of the scrum, strong in the tackle, and a general menace.

“I enjoyed Hamilton Boys’ First XV but the second XV a year before was even better. The firsts are run like a professional team. We were training seven times a week with shuttle runs on Monday mornings before school. It was pretty hectic, good for some, others it broke.”

Sinkinson largely stood up to the rigors of the Hamilton First XV but it wasn’t until he played sevens and helped Hamilton win two National Condors titles he found complete fulfillment in his rugby.

“I grew to love sevens and had a crack at it after leaving school. I was really fit and found my skills and the extra space suited the game.

“Physically I’m not big enough to dominate the tackle area. I even tried centre but there wasn’t much doing.”

The Hurricanes season kicks off on February 24 when they travel to Townsville to play the Reds.


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