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.