One of the most exciting elements to gain recognition from the first two rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa has been the prodigious form and presence of Blues number 8 Hoskins Sotutu. By all accounts, Sotutu’s tireless work off the field has been the main driving force behind his success on it. However, as important as individual hard work is, the right genes hold some sway.
Hoskins is the son of former Blues and Crusaders player, Waisake Sotutu, who, interestingly was an outside back.
While not exactly cut from the same cloth in terms of physical build – Waisake was more in the mould of a powerful track athlete while Hoskins is very much a forward – the latter definitely inherited his father’s feel for the game of rugby.
Hoskins (along with fellow Blues loose-forward Dalton Papali’i) currently possesses the third highest tackle count in Super Rugby Aotearoa (27) and has executed the third highest number of carries as well (22). His name also pops up amongst a host of backline players in the ‘metres gained’ stat (75m). He has also put his big frame to use at the breakdown, having secured two turnovers in the competition thus far and, at lineout time, he has proved himself a very useful option, winning 4 on the Blues’ throw and poaching 2 opposition balls.
Waisake was a regular turnout for Auckland from 1991 to 1997 and was actually involved in the first ever game of Super Rugby when the Wellington Hurricanes took on the Auckland Blues in Palmerston North on 1 March 1996 – the Blues emerging victors on the day with a scoreline of 36-28. Strong, quick and a more-than-capable finisher, he was a fantastic option out wide. In 1997 he left the Blues to finish off his career in Canterbury with the Crusaders.
Hoskins is making significant waves in Super Rugby Aotearoa and, with 4 New Zealand U20 caps under the belt, has the makings of a future All Black number 8. At just 21, there remains much time for him to learn, grow and improve, making the prospect of the fulfilment of his potential a truly exciting one.