The Rise of Stephen Perofeta

The Rise of Stephen Perofeta

The Blues' first five-eighths/fullback utility said he was grateful for the chances he received with Wanganui when going straight from school rugby to first-class play in the Heartland championship, a season he rates as one of the most enjoyable of his career.

From there, he moved to Taranaki before being selected to join the Blues in Super Rugby, making his debut against the touring 2017 British & Irish Lions.

Perofeta said his concentration in Dunedin was on preparing as best he could to deal with the speed and intensity of Test match play.

"Reflecting post-game, I put my best foot forward in the areas I could while there are still areas I could fine-tune. And that'll be a focus going into this week.

"This could be my only chance so I wanted to make the most of it, express myself, enjoy it, smile and be free."

He felt the start's physicality, which set the tone for the remainder of the game—once he felt free, he could get his eyes up and demand the ball.

If he is selected again, it will be about continuing his preparation and building on his performance in the first Test.

They had talked about England's line speed ahead of the game, but experiencing it in match action was another thing. They had pressured the All Blacks, who were looking for ways to negate that at Eden Park.

"When there were pressure times, we pushed them in the right ways through our kicking game. The times we did manage to get the ball to the edge they scrambled well."

Perofeta said he felt his liaison with first five-eighths Damian McKenzie worked well.

"I enjoy the part of the game where he's able to play what's in front and where I felt I could help more is around the control, around how we kick and when we can apply pressure down in England's side of the field."

He was impressed with England fullback George Furbank's running ability, strength through contact, and ability to set England's attack.

"It's what we expected and it's something we'll expect again next week."

If he is selected, returning to his home ground with the Blues would be special. He felt the time spent at fullback with them after returning from injury and on occasions during the last two seasons helped him on Saturday.

"I was able to draw on those experiences and think about my strengths and how I could add to that in the Blues environment."

When setting up wing Sevu Reece's try with his run to break the line, Perofeta said he saw the space, and everything happened quickly.

"The boys around me were able to help out with their voices and gave me the right information for me to do whatever I did. So, it's never just me, there's 14 other guys helping out."

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