Hames Proves He’s No Pushover
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.”