Super Rugby Aotearoa: Blues phenom Hoskins Sotutu eyes All Blacks berth

Hoskins Sotutu has been one of the shining lights in Super Rugby this year, with his compelling form pre and now post the lockdown becoming a big part of the Blues' revival.

And it's those dominant performances that have propelled him into the conversation for a black No.8 jersey.

The 21-year-old admits he still has plenty to learn and having had a taste of Super Rugby last year, the bruising back-rower is now relishing his regular starting role.

Since then, Sotutu has only gone from strength to strength.

At the start of the year, coach Leon MacDonald took a punt, when he replaced the inconsistent Akira Ioane in favour of Sotutu.

"He's a gifted player," says MacDonald. "He steals ball on the ground, he rips it out of people's hands. He can offload, great in the lineout."

With a vacancy in the All Blacks loose forwards, Sotutu senses an opportunity to fill the void left by Kieran Read.

His rapid rise has been hard to miss and talk of a potential All Blacks call up has been unavoidable.

"It's in the back of my mind," Sotutu admits.  

"I guess it's a bit tough at the moment, especially with my family. They're quite proud of me and they're always sending me articles back from Fiji."

This year has also seen a return to form for Rieko Ioane, who's thriving in the Blues midfield.

After losing his All Blacks starting spot last year, Ioane feels he's turned a corner. 

"I came into this year with a fresh new mindset," says Ioane.  "I wanted to be better than i was last year

"It's been a huge learning for me at centre and i'm enjoying my time there."

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