21-year-old No 8 has impressed in Super Rugby Aotearoa and is eligible to play for New Zealand, England and Fiji
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 06/07/20 7:03am
Hoskins Sotutu has appeared to commit his future to New Zealand by signing a new two-year contract with the Auckland Blues.
The 21-year-old No 8 has impressed in New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa in recent weeks, and is tipped for an All Blacks call up, should they play in 2020.
New All Blacks head coach, Ian Foster, has a void to fill at No 8 following the retirement of captain Kieran Read after the 2019 World Cup.
Sotutu also qualifies for Fiji through his father, Waisake Sotutu, the former Auckland and Blues player, as well as England, through his mother.
Both Fiji coach Vern Cotter and England boss Eddie Jones were reportedly keen to persuade Sotutu to play for them, but he now looks set for New Zealand.
England cannot call up players outside of their domestic league, apart from in “exceptional circumstances” – meaning Sotutu would now not be able to play for them until the end of 2022, at the earliest.
Jones has targeted Super Rugby players in the past, having persuaded Brad Shields and Piers Francis to quit the league and move to the Premiership in order to play for England.
After Sotutu signed his new deal, Blues coach Leon MacDonald said: “He has a unique skill set which is well-rounded.
“He has set up tries with his kicking and with accurate missed passes yet he can do the core roles of carrying hard, offloading, making his tackles and [is] an asset in the lineout.
“Hoskins got his chance with the work he did pre-season and has continued to deliver game in, game out.”