Kiwi playmaker wants to follow in All Black footsteps

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The fountain of New Zealand flyhalves isn’t likely to run out anytime soon, if the display of U20s playmaker Stephen Perofeta against Australia was any indication of their stocks.

Perofeta isn’t far out of the mould of Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga or Hurricanes Beauden Barrett, showing off his elusive, ball carrying skills in a 30-10 win over the Australia U20s.

His first slippery display set up winger Mason Emerson for the first try of the game and he broke the defensive line a handful of times in the 20-point win.Stephen Perofeta eluded the Aussie defence. Photo: Sportography

The playmaker was a standout in a dominant New Zealand team on the Gold Coast and said he aspired to be like two of the standout 10s in Super Rugby.

 “I think I’d like to be a bit of a mix between Beaudie (Barrett) and Lima Sopoaga,”

I like how they play, their running game and how they have really good vision in their kicking game,” he said.

In a quirky twist. Perofeta combined with Barrett’s younger brother Jordie on Tuesday night, who played at 12, in a pairing that proved formidable against the men in green and gold.

While Tuesday night was just their second hit-out as a team, after a match against a Blues development squad and Perofeta said the pairings were beginning to gel.

“I mean it was a whole different combination prior to our first game against the Blues, we were getting to know the players around us,” he said.

“That will make us better for the World Cup, bonding together, so we can make combinations better to score tries.”

The margin threatened to blow out with the Kiwis controlling the trans-Tasman clash, but they were left to rue some early missed opportunities before flexing their muscles.

“The boys need try to nail those opportunities because in pressure games it comes down to those missed opportunities," he said.

"We could have brought up a few tries early.”

Playing in the Queensland humidity, with storms threatening all week, proved a challenge for New Zealand but Perofeta said it was one they took in their stride.

Perofeta said the New Zealanders will be focused on the little things ahead of the second Oceania match, on Saturday.

“(We need to work on our) one percenters, our basics, our key relationships but I thought the boys did pretty well for our second blowout.”

The Kiwis will head to Wet'n'Wild for recovery on Wednesday before shifting their focus to the second Oceania clash.