Aumua honoured to be named Hurricanes vice-captain

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Feeling ready for a new season after a total period of preparation with the side, something he hasn't had for several seasons, he said coach Clark Laidlaw wanted him to do more talking in team meetings and with the media.

He still prefers to lead by actions rather than words on the field.

Aumua said that while he had been competitive for places, starting on the side with Dane Coles, who is now playing in Japan, he missed him.

"I didn't expect I would miss him, but I do. He taught me everything about hooking, coming in from second-five to learn about playing hooker. But he's a big loss; a few guys have to step up, and I'm one of them."

Aumua said he was enjoying the new coaches with the side; Laidlaw had a lot of banter and knew how to make the boys laugh; it had been good.

"The pre-season has been good. There's been a lot of connection. As you know, Clarky's come from the Sevens environment where they're all tight, and that's how we feel right now."

Meanwhile, assistant coach and former All Black Bryn Evans said he felt the same way coming into the Hurricanes environment for Super Rugby Pacific this year as he did playing his first game.

He's been building relationships with players during his early days with the side.

Evans explained that as his playing career wound down and he had more time, he wondered how to help his side. With much of his career spent around lineouts and restarts, he concentrated on helping out in those departments when he could.

"Anything that I can feed on to the boys to give them a leg up and take out the time it took me to learn those things then the better they should be for it."

Head coach Clark Laidlaw had given his assistant coaches leeway in their areas of expertise to work with the side and to be aware that he was at hand to help where he may be needed while assembling the overall team strategies.

In the pre-season, a particular area of attention has been attempting to fill the lineout void left by James Blackwell's departure. Evans said they had been sharing the load across all their players to see who was best equipped to step up.

"It's not something that comes naturally to everyone, so practising under pressure and putting the boys in those situations is what we've been trying to do, and we're pretty happy with the progress we've been making."


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