‘He’s a special kid’: Chiefs young gun Sititi bolts into All Blacks contention after Hurricanes upset

Sat, Jun 15, 2024, 7:07 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

21-year-old Wallace Sititi has bolted into contention for the All Blacks with a stunning performance to guide the Chiefs to an upset 30-19 win over the Hurricanes.

Sititi has started just seven games in 2024 yet the former Blues U20s captain turned the contest with a player-of-the-match performance for the Chiefs as they took down the minor premiers.

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It started with a fortuitous re-gather from a charge-down kick in the sixth minute, racing clear before passing for scrumhalf Cortez Ratima to score for an early 12-0 lead.

As the Hurricanes mounted a comeback, the backrower snatched a pass from Brett Cameron that easily could've been a deliberate knockdown and yellow card if not for some freakish ball-handling skills from the 113kg number eight.

From this, he ran 60 metres and whilst a desperate ankle tackle from Devan Flanders stopped him metres from the line, winger Daniel Rona scored a couple of phases later.

“We made a few issues but we were able to fight back and get that momentum so I’m really proud of the group but the job isn’t done," Sititi said post-game.

“The ‘Canes are littered with strong ball carriers so we knew it was going to be tough but we talked about heart, accuracy and effort and we can’t fault that.”

Sititi finished the night with a game-high 15 carries for 150 metres, four tackle busts and two line breaks.

Fellow backrower Luke Jacobson was full of praise for the young gun, who credits Liam Messam as a mentor as he navigates his first Super Rugby season.

“He took it to another level,” Jacobson remarked.

“He’s a special kid with a bright future.”

The Chiefs will be out for redemption against the Blues, having fallen in the final ten minutes of last year's Final against the Crusaders.

“I’m really proud of the boys. I think we had a really good plan over the week and we came out here and trusted it," Jacobson added.

“We were accurate and were able to make up for some of those mistakes so I’m really proud of the lads that we came out and execute.

“We’ve lost a couple of finals so we’re gunning for the Blues and the week.

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