Playing Springboks a ‘bucket list’ achievement for Aumua

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Having grown up watching and learning from All Blacks hookers like Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore, he stamped himself as a future All Black with some outstanding performances when the New Zealand Under-20s stormed to their world championship title in 2017.

 

By the end of that season, he was in the All Blacks squad. He made his debut against the Barbarians at Twickenham before appearing in Super Rugby.

 

However, since that early start, he has had to be patient for more opportunities, both with his Hurricanes side and for the All Blacks. That was due to the players the selectors of the respective sides had to call on.

 

But he goes into Saturday's game having appeared in three Tests, but none has been more challenging than the Springboks.

 

As a substitute, he is guaranteed to come up against dynamic Springboks substitute Malcolm Marx, a prospect he is looking forward to.

 

 

"I wouldn't say I have looked up to him, but he is someone I've wanted to play. He's quite good over the ball and you could see that in the last game, he gets in there. He's pretty fast too for a big guy," he said.

 

Aumua said playing the Springboks was a bucket list achievement for him. Having grown up watching them play the All Blacks, he knew they were always heavyweight contests, and he was preparing to take on some 'big boys' when coming off the bench on Saturday.

 

"This week there's been a big focus on the physicality and the set-piece to try and beat them up front," he said.

 

While he hasn't had as many opportunities as he may have wanted in recent years, he has enjoyed being part of the squad and learning.

 

He felt 2021 had been a good season for him - building slowly and hopefully getting more game time along the way.

 

He had experienced playing the Sharks in Super Rugby in South Africa in 2019, so he knew how big South African players were and was looking forward to the contest, all around the field, at the weekend.

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