'Talented athlete' Vaea Fifita 'isn't the finished product yet'- Steve Hansen

10 September 2017 6:20 AM

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Shy at the best of times, Vaea Fifita was grinning from ear to ear in the sheds after the All Blacks' 39-22 win over Argentina.

Lightning quick, bold and aggressive, the 25-year-old flanker played a blinder in Saturday's triumph over Los Pumas, seizing his opportunity with both hands.

With Liam Squire rested and Jerome Kaino absent for personal reasons, Fifita found himself in the Test No.6 jumper for the first time in New Plymouth.

And he certainly didn't disappoint, repeatedly crashing through the Pumas' defensive rearguard and scoring a thunderous second-half try down the left.

Trailing by seven, the All Blacks worked the ball out to Fifita and watched in glee as he shrugged off his man to gallop 40m to the line.

By the end of the match, he'd made 11 runs with ball in hand for more than 110m, as well as three line breaks - a decent return for his first start.

"For me, every game I feel calm, I never feel nervous. But when you get out on the field, just play, get the ball in your hand and play."

Earlier in the week, coach Steve Hansen said Fifita had the power and physical presence to develop into a Kaino-esque, world-class blindside flanker.

He was pleased to see his Tongan-born powerhouse produce the goods in the Taranaki but said he still had plenty to work on before reaching Kaino's level.

"He's a young man, talked about him the other day and said he's a good athlete. You saw that, a good athlete, tonight," Hansen said.

"I don't think he's the finished product. He's got a long way to go before he does that but it's a tank that's got plenty in it and it's our job to bring that out.

Source: newshub.co.nz

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