Otere Black steps up to another stage

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Lynn McConnell     08 Jul 2015     Getty Images

Having completed his first season as part of the Hurricanes side he has signed on for another two years this week. But it is the Maori campaign that stands to complete a hectic month in the game, just below the full international level.

"Maori rugby is pretty exciting, we like to throw the ball around and the Fijians are pretty similar so it is going to be an exciting game, there will be a lot of running, a lot of big hits and that sort of thing so we're looking forward to it," he said.

He has been joined by Chiefs five-eighths/fullback Damian McKenzie in the side with last year's incumbent Ihaia West not included.

"I know Ihaia pretty well and I know he'll be pretty disappointed about it but he will definitely bounce back from it. We've just got to make sure we do what is best for the team.

"It's awesome to have Damian here as well, we played Schools together so it is awesome that we are both kicking on pretty well," he said.

Black said his signing with the Hurricanes had been a long process but he was happy to have it sorted and signed for the next two years.

There had been several offers to consider but he took his time, talked to a lot of people about them but in the end it was his decision about where he would be most comfortable and that came down to the Hurricanes, he said.

He was conscious that there could be more playing opportunities for the side if Beauden Barrett was part of the New Zealand Sevens bid next year.

But he wasn't too concerned because when his contract was over he would only be 22.

"Hopefully by then I'll be a bit more developed physically and on the rugby field as well

He wasn't fazed by what had been an exciting month with the Hurricanes heading towards the Investec Super Rugby grand final and winning the World Rugby Under-20 Championship with New Zealand, and now joining the Maori All Blacks for their campaign.

It didn't matter what jersey he was wearing, he prepared for each game the same way and took it all as it came, he said.

"It was a big goal of mine, the Maori All Blacks, and finally to be a part of it it's pretty cool. I'm a Maori boy, I was brought up around the Maori culture so it is pretty special," he said.

Making the Maoris side was his main goal at the start of the year along with bringing the World 20s title back to New Zealand.