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‘We better use him’: The Tahs star that must be ‘considered’ for Test honours

By Finn Morton
(Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Australian international Stephen Hoiles has urged the Wallabies to “use” Mahe Vailanu at Test level or risk losing the Waratahs hooker to another nation.

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Throughout this year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign, Vailanu has been more than impressive off the bench for the Sydney-based franchise.

Wallabies hooker David Porecki may have cemented his place in the Waratahs starting side, but Vailanu has taken each and every opportunity to come off the bench with both hands.

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Vailanu, who won a Major League Rugby championship alongside Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper at the LA Giltinis, is a powerful scrummanger and is accurate at lineouts.

In fact, according to Hoiles, the 26-year-old is “probably one of the top three hookers in the country.”

But if Eddie Jones and the Wallabies fail to act quickly, then another nation may look to select the dynamic front rower for higher honours.

“I’m going to throw it out there – Mahe is becoming probably one of the top three hookers in the country. I know he’s coming off the bench but he’s exceptional,” Hoiles said on Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts.

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“He’s eligible for Tonga. I don’t know what his plans are, is he going to stay at the Tahs? I know that Tonga would be chasing him for a World Cup.

“We better use him soon or we’ll lose him.”

Vailanu was born in Tonga, attended Auckland Grammar in New Zealand, and is currently plying his trade in Australia.

As Hoiles mentioned, Tonga could potentially look to select Vailanu – and add him to a potential star studded squad which is expected to include Israel Folau and Charles Piutau.

And if they could, why wouldn’t they? Vailanu has been brilliant.

The replacement has been getting “better and better” every week for the Waratahs, and still has plenty of growth left in his game.

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“He’s got better and better,” he added.

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“Porecki has been outstanding and that’s his strength, his set-piece is phenomenal, but are you noticing Mahe miss throws? Are you noticing the scrum struggle when he comes on?

“It’s a position where you’ve got to do your time in the saddle to get better. You’ve got to be humiliated and you’ve got to be humbled as a hooker – scrummaging and throwing.

“That happened a few years ago when I was coaching side and lineout throws weren’t excellent, but he’s getting coached well. He’s got to be considered now.”

Currently sixth on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, the Waratahs are set to face defending champions the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon.

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