This young back-rower is being hotly tipped for All Blacks honours

Blues No 8 Hoskins Sotutu

Date of birth 12 July 1998 Born Auckland Position No 8 Franchise Blues Country New Zealand

What sports did you play growing up? 

Rugby and football. I played baseball in summer and fitted in basketball when I could.

When did you focus on rugby? 

My dad said I should give rugby a good shot. From high school it was rugby but it was not until I was 17 that I began to take it seriously. I played two years of first XV at Sacred Heart College.

Your father played for Fiji. Did you feel pressure? 

I never felt any. I always got told Dad was a good player but I didn’t make the comparison as he was a back and I’m a forward. I was young when he finished, so I never watched him much.

What do you most enjoy about rugby? 

Training days, the camaraderie, seeing the boys and having a laugh. Hanging out with my mates is great every week – it’s fun as well as hard work. We’re all mates as well as team-mates.

Any childhood heroes? 

Growing up I used to think Joe Rocks (Rokocoko) was the man – a big Fijian winger who scored lots of tries. As I got older, I looked up to guys like Jerome (Kaino).

What positions have you played? 

I started as a winger, then moved to lock at 17, then six, wing, second-five. My last year at school I played No 8. My first year out of school I played first-five for Marist and now I’m settled as No 8.

What are your strengths? 

My ball-carry is probably my main attribute. I like to think I have good soft skills as well. My defence is a work in progress.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career? 

Dad. He’s always helping me. During lockdown he was on my case every day making sure I’d done my training. He even got me to do a Bronco before I came in post-Covid. Man, I really didn’t want to do it twice!

What are your goals? 

To keep the team strong and help them continue to improve. It is all about the team. I’ve signed for two more years with the Blues, which is great.

RW VERDICT: A standout performer in Super Rugby Aotearoa, Sotutu has been with the Blues since U17 level and says pro rugby is a “dream job”. He’s already being tipped for All Blacks honours and has the pedigree for Test rugby.

This article originally appeared in the August 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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