Here are our three standout rookies from round two:
3 points: Samipeni Finau (Chiefs)
Uncontracted at the start of the season, highly skilled loose forward Samipeni Finau made a big impact on debut for the Chiefs against the Highlanders in round two. With the experience of Sam Cane and Luke Jacobsen around him, Finau looked right at home at Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa level and made several crucial tackles and promising runs during the game. At 109kg and 1.93cm tall, there are obvious similarities between the talented 21-year-old and the Chiefs breakout star of 2020 Tupou Vaa’i.
2 points: Jack Regan (Highlanders)
Ireland-born Jack Regan was one of the Highlanders best in round one against the Crusaders and backed it up with another impressive effort in round two against the Chiefs. Regan is a player who nails his core roles expertly and uses his rangy 1.98cm frame to good effect in the tight encounters. Unknown just a mere two weeks ago, it would be no surprise to see Regan keep ahold of the number five jersey for the rest of the Highlanders campaign.
1 point: Luke Campbell (Hurricanes)
Although the Hurricanes endured a forgettable second half against the reigning champions Crusaders, reserve halfback Luke Campbell looked tidy in his cameo off the bench. Campbell’s distribution game looks top class which is just what the Hurricanes electrifying backline requires. Expect to see the 26-year-old build on his efforts over the coming weeks and further grow into his role as a finisher from the bench while challenging incumbent Jonathan Taumateine for a starting spot.
NOTE: The qualification for rookies is players that are either playing in their first season of Super Rugby or who are playing their first season as a contracted player and have played less than five games prior to 2019.