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'What a revelation': Samisoni Taukei'aho praised following destructive performance

By Sam Smith
Samisoni Taukei'aho. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

While it may have taken until the Rugby Championship for Samisoni Taukei’aho to finally get a starting opportunity for the All Blacks this year, the 24-year-old has quickly established himself as a must-pick in the All Blacks line-up.

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Taukei’aho was named man-of-the-match in the All Blacks’ controversial 39-37 win over the Wallabies in Melbourne, with the big hooker crashing over for two crucial tries in the narrow victory. He also finished the game as New Zealand’s most damaging forward will ball-in-hand, clocking up 26 metres off nine carries, and nailed all 10 of his lineout deliveries. All in all, it was another impressive performance from the man who was playing in just his second start mere weeks ago against the Springboks in Mbombela.

After getting pulled from the field relatively early against the Pumas in Christchurch late last month, the Chiefs rake got through 62 minutes of action on Thursday night – but still had to watch the final moments from the sidelines as the All Blacks crashed over for the game-winning try after the buzzer had sounded.

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“I think that’s one word to describe it – dramatic – at the end,” Taukei’aho said on the Stan Sports post-game broadcast. “It was quite nerve-wracking, to be honest, sitting on the sidelines watching but full trust in the boys, full confidence they’d get the job done and they did. So, happy.”

While Taukei’aho’s first try came off the back of a driving maul, his second was a thing of beauty, with the 115-kilogram front-rower weaving between Wallabies defenders to crash over after receiving the ball just inside the 22:

“I think I was just quite lucky,” Taukei’aho said of the try. “I got the ball so I had to finish it because I had five guys outside me. I had to get over the line so I’m just lucky that came off.”

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Unsurprisingly, fans were in raptures off the back of another solid performance from a man who’s quickly ascending the ranks of hookers on the global stage.

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Having debuted last year and only taken over from Codie Taylor as the All Blacks’ first-choice hooker this season, coach Ian Foster will no doubt look to get as much experience under Taukei’aho’s belt heading into next year’s flagship Rugby World Cup.

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