All Blacks: Chiefs bolter Quinn Tupaea answers call to undermanned midfield for Pacific series

One minute, Chiefs midfielder Quinn Tupaea is preparing to face Samoa with the Māori All Blacks - the next, he's facing a very different proposition over the next couple of weeks.

Tupaea, 22, is probably the closest thing to an absolute bolter in the 36-man All Blacks sqaud to take on Tonga and Fiji next month, with the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup looming beyond that.

After strong campaigns with Waikato and the Chiefs, he has been thrust into a midfield void created by injuries to an established pairing of Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown, and the departure of their primary back-up, Ngani Laumape, to France. 

The call-up has caught the rookie by surprise and means he probably won't get the opportunity to add to his only Māori cap in the short term.

"We were just having dinner with the Māori All Blacks and I was super surprised to hear my name called," Tupaea has told Sky Sport's Breakdown. "I got a bit of a cheer from the boys and then shot outside to the lobby to call my mum, and there were a few tears, because they hadn't actually watched the announcement."

Playing alongside current All Blacks Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie and Lienert-Brown has helped prepare Tupaea for what's to come.

All Blacks: Chiefs bolter Quinn Tupaea answers call to undermanned midfield for Pacific series

"I haven't really talked to anyone about it, because it was a bit unexpected to be named," he tells Breakdown. "But I've heard Anton speak about it, saying you feel like a superhero when you put on the jersey, so I'm excited to get into the environment, learn as much as I can and have some fun.

"Of course, All Blacks has always been the dream and I didn't really expect to be named."

Tupaea's potential has the All Blacks staff salivating at the prospects.

"He's a big strong young man, talented," says selector Grant Fox. "He’s had his injury problems too, but we saw in the last few games there's enough there.

"He gets a lot of touches in a game, his post-contact carry metres are strong and he linebreaks quite well. A big growth area for him is linking after linebreaks, but that's not all about him - that's also support players running lines - and he's a strong defender.

"He's got a strong all-round game and with Ngani gone, we're a bit challenged at 12 at the moment and investing in Quinn is a good thing."

Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the Māori All Blacks v Samoa clash