NZ Rugby World - - Next Generation -

AGE: 25 HEIGHT: 1.96M // WEIGHT: 113KG CAPS: 3 // PO­SI­TION: FLANKER DE­BUT: 2017 Born and raised in Tonga, Vaea Fifita was spot­ted while play­ing as a teenager in Auck­land. He was per­suaded to move per­ma­nently for his school­ing and after he left Ta­maki Col­lege, it didn’t take him long to make his way into the Wellington team and then the Hur­ri­canes.

At 1.96m and 105kg as he was, the Hur­ri­canes saw him as a lock who could play blind­side. The All Blacks, how­ever, were adamant they were look­ing at a blind­side.

And not only that, they felt they were look­ing at a player with the po­ten­tial to be­come some­thing spe­cial. Game-chang­ing spe­cial that is.

“Vaea is a re­ally, re­ally good ath­lete,” says Hansen. “Prob­a­bly one of the best ath­letes I have had any­thing to do with from a nat­u­ral, sheer abil­ity point of view.

“We are ex­pect­ing a lot from him be­cause we be­lieve he has a lot in him. We are go­ing to aim with him and he needs to aim high as well and if we aim high I think he will hit the tar­get.

“He’s just about one of the fastest peo­ple we have got in the team. That’s not bad for a six. He is phys­i­cal and he likes be­ing phys­i­cal and that is not some­thing you can coach, that is some­thing that comes from in­side you. That’s a Jerome Kaino-type player, a Jerry Collins type, a Rod­ney So’oialo type of player. Chris Ma­soe liked and en­joyed be­ing phys­i­cal and that is quite handy to have some­one in your team like that be­cause it usu­ally puts the fear of God in the op­po­si­tion if they are good at it. And we are hop­ing he’s go­ing to be good at it.”

BIG MAN Vaea Fifita could be 118kg and not lose any mo­bil­ity.

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