Super Rugby 2019: Ngani Laumape stakes claim for All Blacks jersey

Ask blockbusting Hurricanes second-five Ngani Laumape for an assessment of his stellar form through the first few rounds of Super Rugby action and the answer is as unassuming as you may expect.

"I'm just happy not to be injured, to be honest," Laumape tells Newshub.

With five tries to his name already, the Palmerston North product has lifted his inimitable, bulldozing style of play to another level this year and all facets of his imposing game were on display in the comeback win over the Highlanders on Friday.

Arguably the franchise's early-season MVP, Laumape credits his eye-catching form to focusing on doing what he does best - running it straight and very, very hard.

"I've got to stick to what I'm good at. When it's time to execute the kicks or passes, I will, but I can't get carried away with trying to be the player I'm not.

"Every player's different and for me, I'm just trying to play the game the way I know how to play the game.

As effective as that approach may be, it still needs to balanced with a clear outline of where key improvements can be made. With the Rugby World Cup fast approaching and the All Blacks midfield stocks relatively shallow, the national coaches will be pleased to see the strides the 25-year-old has made with his "work-ons".

"Just getting the ball out a bit wider and more communication, and I feel like I'm heading in the right direction with those.

"I find the communication side pretty exciting. When I'm on the park, I always like to talk to the boys, and it helps me get involved with the game and see the pictures that I need to see.

"When I'm working hard and getting my hands on the ball, I know I'm in the game. I'm just trying to get better every week."

And next week brings Laumape another gilded opportunity to stake his selection claims to the national brass. He'll go head-to-head with fellow All Blacks midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown, when the Hurricanes take on the deplorable Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

Predictably, Laumape refuses to be drawn into any dissection of individual battles - preferring to focus on a prospective third straight victory for his surging side.

"They're still a fantastic team and are very strong. They have a lot of dangerous players

"We need to take lessons from their games and worry about us nailing our individual roles."


Join us for live updates of Chiefs vs Hurricanes from 7pm Friday