Hames Proves He’s No Pushover

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Auck­land: If Kane Hames han­dles him­self as well in his first test start tonight against the Spring­boks as he did in front of the me­dia yes­ter­day then nei­ther he nor the All Blacks should have many prob­lems up front.

It was a tour de force from the 29-year-old, who is in­ex­pe­ri­enced at this level hav­ing played only two tests as a re­place­ment but clearly doesn’t lack con­fi­dence or elo­quence.

In at loose-head prop ahead of the in­jured Joe Moody, who dis­lo­cated a shoul­der against the Pu­mas last week­end, and in front of Wy­att Crock­ett who re­mains on the re­serves bench, Hames called out a jour­nal­ist who wrote yes­ter­day that the Chiefs player wasn’t a “renowned scrum­mager.”

Coach Steve Hansen had ear­lier made men­tion of the story and Hames took it to a new level when he said drily: “He said I’m not a renowned scrum­mager, so when I’m not scrum­mag­ing I guess I’ll be try­ing to win the bat­tle in the air and work on my speed on the out­side chan­nels.” Hames, who has been se­lected purely be­cause of his de­struc­tive abil­ity in the set piece, wasn’t fin­ished there, ei­ther.

Asked if he wanted to prove peo­ple wrong, he said: “In this en­vi­ron­ment it’s never about prov­ing any­one wrong, it’s about putting pro­cesses and sys­tems in place to make sure that ev­ery­thing goes right. “I know that your job is to write a whole lot of things and that’s great. We’ve got to do a whole lot of re­search to make sure we get it right and it would be great if you could too.”

It was a ver­bal joust which had his mate Dane Coles, sit­ting along­side him, clap­ping in ad­mi­ra­tion, but Hames has on-field tal­ent to go with the off-field chat.

His rise from rel­a­tive ob­scu­rity has been helped by Moody’s in­jury, but also his own per­se­ver­ance. Brought on to the re­serves bench for the test against Aus­tralia in Syd­ney in Au­gust last year de­spite not hav­ing a Su­per Rugby con­tract, Hames has had his is­sues with in­jury - the Tas­man Mitre 10 Cup player paid credit to his trainer Glenn Ste­wart in Nel­son for help­ing him with his knees and other is­sues.

He clearly feels he owes a debt of grat­i­tude to the All Blacks se­lec­tors, who saw some­thing in him last year when no Su­per Rugby coach did, and said op­er­at­ing along­side the best play­ers in the world wasn’t dif­fi­cult, pre­cisely be­cause they were the best in the world. Hooker Dane Coles said: “Prob­a­bly Crocky and I are the two se­nior guys [in the front row].

“It’s ex­cit­ing ... Kane has been here be­fore and he de­serves his start­ing spot. It’s about help­ing those play­ers out mak­ing sure we do the work dur­ing the week. I’ve been re­ally im­pressed with Kane, it makes our job eas­ier when he’s will­ing to learn.”

Kane Hames.

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