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The Super Rugby final matchup AJ Lam thinks will get the crowd 'roaring'

By Ned Lester
Wallace Sititi with the ball in hand for the Chiefs. Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

The Super Rugby Pacific final will feature blockbusting matchups across the park, with a combined total of 16 All Blacks named in the starting XVs for the Blues and Chiefs in their respective semi-final teams.

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Various All Blacks will likely be lining up across from one another, with Rieko Ioane and Anton Lienert-Brown set to square off in the midfield, Emoni Narawa and Caleb Clarke most likely locking horns on the wing and captains Luke Jacobson and Dalton Papali’i expected to both don the respective No. 7 jerseys.

But there was no denying the Chiefs’ standout performer in the semi-final was a man without any All Blacks caps to his name; 21-year-old Wallace Sititi.

Enjoying a breakout season in 2024, Sititi was a powerful force in the No. 8 jersey once again in the dramatic semi-final win over the Hurricanes, contributing 16 carries and 13 tackles while providing impact with every touch. The 21-year-old was involved with the Blues previously, representing the club in the 2022 U20 Super Rugby season.

In the final, he’ll look to line up against perhaps the competition’s form No. 8 in Hoskins Sotutu. It’s a matchup that even has Sotutu’s Blues teammate AJ Lam excited.

“Wallace is in good form, I think he’s doing really well to be honest, especially for a young kid,” Lam told RugbyPass at Blues training ahead of the final.

“Hoskins is in there trying to prove a point as well, so I think it’ll be a huge battle between them both. It’ll go back and forth which will be good. I think it’ll be really good for the crowd as well, it should get them roaring.

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“I wish them both the best but we’ll just see who comes out on top.”

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Sotutu, having been dropped from not just the All Blacks but All Blacks XV in 2023, has had a resurgent, career-best season to begin 2024, equalling the Blues’ single-season record for tries scored.

Lam says while sometimes the Blues look to fuel the fire in certain players, it’s not necessarily the recipe for success in the final.

“Sometimes we do try and rile up the boys, try to get them fizzed up. But, it’s dependent on the player and how they rile up.

“We do give a little bit of a nudge here and there, but not too much. We don’t want to get them off track too much.”

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A sold-out crowd has been confirmed at Eden Park for the final, and the Blues couldn’t be happier to be back home for the big dance.

“We’re pretty excited to come back to Auckland, I think all the boys are excited to play in front of family and friends. It will probably give us an extra boost.

“That in itself, we just don’t want the moment to get in front of us and what our end goal is.”

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Comments

6 Comments
C
Chesterfield 35 days ago

An All-Black No.8 trial for what may realistically be the reserve No.8 spot if Ardie doesn’t move back to 7.

S
Simon 36 days ago

From what I’ve seen this year, Super Rugby is getting closer to sevens than a XV rugby. There is no doubting some of the skills on display but there is little structure to games and teams don’t seem to be well coached in the fundamentals of the game. The longer Super Rugby keeps going like this, the longer NZ and Australia will slip down as Test nations and are unlikely to be anywhere near contenders for future World Cups.

M
MattJH 36 days ago

Tutu Vs Titi. Can’t wait!

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