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World Cup winner’s verdict on whether Ruben Love is ready for All Blacks

By Finn Morton
Ruben Love with the ball I hand for the Hurricanes. Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images

Rugby World Cup winner Cory Jane believes Hurricanes fullback Ruben Love is in the mix to debut for the All Blacks later this year after a strong start to the Super Rugby Pacific season.

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Love, 22, has already played for both the Maori All Blacks and All Blacks XV but now appears destined for more honours after a phenomenal run of form with the table-topping Hurricanes.

Playing out the back in the No. 15 jersey, the playmaker has been solid under the high ball, quite smart around the field of play, and is ranked in the top 10 for clean breaks in the competition.

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With Will Jordan set to miss the entirety of the Crusaders’ season, there has been plenty of chatter about Love’s credentials as an All Blacks candidate. But with each performance, the calls for Love to enter the Test arena seem to be getting louder and louder.

England are set to tour New Zealand in July, and while Beauden Barrett is the incumbent at fullback, Hurricanes assistant coach Cory Jane couldn’t fault how “awesome” Love has been this season.

“I hope so,” Jane said on Weekend Sport with Jason Pine on Sunday when asked if Ruben Love will be an All Black this year.

“I help out with Tyler (Bleyendaal) with the backs… I think Kini (Naholo), Josh Moorby, Billy Proctor… if I had my time picking the All Blacks.

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“I think Rubes is up there as well. He’s playing some fantastic rugby.

“The coolest thing about him is everything we talked about and trained in pre-season, he’s doing it in games. It’s just not like, ‘How am I going to get better?’ Some players will ask for feedback and you give it to them and then keep on doing the same things.

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“He’s trying to get better by listening to feedback but actually going out there and actually training it and putting it out there on the field.

“He’s been awesome this year.”

Love has played an integral role in the Hurricanes’ flawless start to the season, with the men from New Zealand’s capital occupying pole position on the ladder with a perfect 6-0 record.

The Hurricanes’ only real blip was in the second round against the Queensland Reds, with that match going to extra time at Melbourne’s AAMI Park during Super Round.

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But big wins over the Western Force, Melbourne Rebels and Highlanders, and hard-fought victories over the Blues and Crusaders, have seen the Canes emerge as competition favourites.

Just last week, coach Clark Laidlaw made 12 changes to the starting 15 only for the Hurricanes to go on and dominate New Zealand rivals the Highlanders 47-12 away from home in Dunedin.

“Most of the guys that played last night had played games before,” Jane explained when asked about the squad rotation.

Match Summary

0
Penalty Goals
0
2
Tries
7
1
Conversions
6
0
Drop Goals
0
128
Carries
136
6
Line Breaks
11
19
Turnovers Lost
19
7
Turnovers Won
5

“Then you saw guys step in in that Rebels game and take the opportunities. It put pressure on the squad that you’ve got to train well but you’ve also got to put it out on the weekend. It was good to see the guys do that last night.

“It’s early days… there’s going to be a bit of challenging times with us playing games and we might lose a few and guys play bad or average. You’ve just got to rely on the squad to keep turning up and getting better.

“It’s pleasing so far.”

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