Tyro Hickey excited by unexpected chance
Selection for the Blues at first five-eighths took Simon Hickey, 20, by surprise but he was immediately excited by the chance to play the Crusaders in their Investec Super Rugby game at Eden Park on Friday night.
Hickey scored 127 points for Auckland in the ITM Cup, scoring three tries and landing 20 conversions and 24 penalty goals for a success rate of 79 percent.
He wanted to advance his game as quickly as he could but he had never set a goal, or timeline, to achieve that.
"I was just hoping to get an opportunity at some stage this year and it is just awesome to get it this early on in the competition," he said.
Growing up, Hickey said, the Blues v Crusaders games were the ones he always wanted to go and watch.
"I remember going to the final in 2003 so I can't wait to get out there to play against them," he said.
Diminutive in stature, Hickey said he liked to take the ball to the line and to be something of a threat and to drive the side around the ground.
Commenting on coach Sir John Kirwan's comparison to Aaron Cruden and Grant Fox, Hickey said: "We'll see."
While his season with Auckland last year gave him confidence he was well aware that Super Rugby was a bigger step up.
"Some of the players alongside me, I have got some awesome players to look to and feed off them," he said.
Well aware that the Crusaders had the firepower to fully test him, Hickey said he was looking forward to the challenge.
Hickey had impressed as a junior cricketer winning national honours at age-grade but said he wanted to concentrate on rugby so it had not been hard to commit to the oval ball.