You need to LOG IN to reply.

Young guns to look out for...

Forum » Rugby » Young guns to look out for...

Feb 09, 2013, 11:12

 Rugby Heaven has tipped the following NZ players as one's to watch this S15 - I've included some youtube footage where I could find it - interested to see some footage of any SA youg guns we've not heard much of also.


For me Charles Piutau and Ardie Savea look the goods - Ardie Savea looks the closest thing to Michael Jones we've been able to produce since the great man retired.



With the Super Rugby season kicking off in a matter of weeks, here's a look at five young players set to make a big impact.


Blues: Charles Piutau

Age: 21

Position: Fullback

Weight: 95kg

NPC caps: 19


It's no surprise Charles Piutau was a contender for NPC player of the year.


A product of Wesley College, where Jonah Lomu and Sitiveni Sivivatu were refined, Piutau could be the  school's next gift to New Zealand rugby.


Called in as a late replacement for the final two games of Blues' disastrous campaign last year, the 21-year-old made the step up look easy as he sparked a malfunctioning backline.


After Isaia Toeava's departure, expect to see Piutau nail down the fullback role in John Kirwan's side, though, it hasn't long been his position of choice.


His lethal step, ability to spot and explode through half gaps with deceptive strength, and those twinkling feet were founded on the wing, with Tongan and New Zealand age-grade teams.


Two seasons with Sevens guru Gordon Tietjens also enhanced confidence to kick start his swift promotion.


Kirwan recounts a tale from this year's preseason of Piutau catching a pass in one hand and making a seamless transfer for a left foot chip.


A promising talent is underselling him. Kicking accuracy from the back and decision-making under pressure will be tested, possibly exposed at times.


But by season-end, after being under the watchful gaze of Kirwan, Mick Byrne and Graham Henry, Piutau could again feature in Steve Hansen's discussions.





Highlanders: Jason Emery

Age: 19

Position: Midfield

Weight: 88kg

NPC caps: 10


Small in stature; big on promise.


A pint-sized prodigy of strong sporting stock, Jason Emery never dreamed his Super Rugby debut would come this soon.


The former Palmerston North Boys' High School captain was signed by Manawatu while still at school - for good reason - and grew up idolising Ma'a Nonu.


After both were ironically snapped up by the Highlanders, Emery was star-struck, too nervous to talk to the All Blacks second five-eighth.


When he builds up the courage, the age-grade star couldn't ask for a better point of call for insight.


The 19-year-old, second cousin of rugby league great Stacey Jones, is competing for a place with Shaun Treeby and will be one of the smallest midfielders in the competition, but don't be surprised by his evasive, heady qualities, and rare kicking vision.


While he looks set for more game-time than expected in his rookie season, due to Tamati Ellison's injury, Emery is a long-term project who can also slot in at first-five.


His diminutive stature will be tested, particularly on defence, but evidence so far suggests he has the potential to make a promising fist of his maiden campaign in the deep south.


Crusaders: Dominic Bird

Age: 21

Position: Lock

Weight: 112kg

NPC caps: 13


No-one could accuse Dominic Bird of being over-eager.


After two seasons in the Crusaders' wider training group, essentially serving an extended apprenticeship, most would jump at the chance to join another side's main squad.


The red-and-blacks sure made him bide his time. In 2011, Bird only enjoyed 10 minutes during the entire NPC season.


So when Blues coach John Kirwan attempted to lure the 2.06m second-rower to Auckland over breakfast this year, most suspected it would be a done deal.


Instead, Bird knocked back the offer and was, finally, rewarded with a call-up to Todd Blackadder's squad.


Hailing from a sheep and beef farm in Waipukurau, Hawke's Bay, where he was a keen motor-cross rider, Bird's decision was mature.


He felt learning his craft from All Blacks Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and the experienced Tom Donnelly was more valuable.


Long-term vision, rather than short-term gain.


It's the sort of decision that could pay off for the highly-touted lineout technician.


After all, it would only take one injury for Bird to be thrust into the tall timber limelight.


This time last year we hadn't heard of Brodie Retallick. And there is room for another locking candidate.


Chiefs: Bundee Aki

Age: 22

Position: Second five-eighth

Weight: 92kg

NPC caps: 20


He's not a like-for-like replacement, but in Bundee Aki, the Chiefs feel they can cover Sonny Bill Williams' absence.


Don't be surprised to see Richard Kahui - fitness permitting - carry the lion's share of Williams' duties. Inside oil suggests the recovering All Black will switch roles on defence and attack this year.


That will leave Aki and Wellington's Charlie Ngatai to contest the vacant No 12 jersey.


Under Tana Umaga's guidance in Pukekohe, Aki flourished as Counties Manukau surged to the NPC championship title.


Out of Manurewa High School, Aki is confident, grounded, and should be comfortable at this level.


The father-of-two - Armani and Adrianna - appreciates life outside of rugby, having taken a year off to work in a bank and support his young family.


Few players of his age have that experience behind them.


Pace and deft footwork are features of his budding talents.


After ballooning on a diet of corned beef, taro and chop suey during the offseason, Aki is back in shape and has the inside running to partner Kahui in a dangerous midfield combination. Watch this space.




Hurricanes: Ardie Savea

Age: 19

Position: Flanker

Weight: 97kg

NPC caps: 10


Unstoppable from both centre and flanker at Rongotai College, where he was head boy, Ardie Savea is possibly the most exciting prospect of 2013.


In his first year out of school, the explosive talent set the NPC alight in his debut season with pure displays of pace and power.


Accompanied by a handy offload and lightening step that, one on occasion, left former All Black Rudi Wulf for dead, the-19-year-old has a rare skill set. Any wonder he's already drawn comparisons to legendary flanker Michael Jones.


While rugby prowess came naturally to older brother, All Blacks wing Julian, Ardie is said to have obtained similar speed and stronger work ethic, having been devoted to the gym before and after classroom requirements. It's clearly paid off.


With damaging leg speed, anticipation and inherent support play instincts; openside flanker is his natural position.


While he starts the season behind Karl Lowe and the injured Jack Lam, he won't be deprived a chance. Mark Hammett must be champing at the bit to unleash this kid.


Adjusting to the physical rigors Super Rugby demands is a challenge for all young players, but there seems little doubt Ardie will make his mark and, potentially, follow in his brother's footsteps.


Need we mention Richie McCaw is on holiday?



Feb 09, 2013, 13:37


Thanks - you are a real gem.  I am going to keep this item alive and watch the youngsters carefully when the games really start.

Feb 09, 2013, 22:02

@ poi- e,  I kuraina hoki ahau i te Kareti o Weteriana way back when Tem Morrison was the head boy and Richard Taylor was in my class for five years . So i can see how the school became such a rugby factory with rugby and fitness given priority over academic studies IMO. 

The whole school were expected to run the cross country course twice a week chased by teachers with canes lol. You could also run on Saturdays if you joined Athletics in Summer and also Wednesday if you selected the harriers club option. Our teams would run circles around other teams due to our fitness which is probably still the case today.


Found this all stars team which probably needs updating just to give an idea of some of the old boys that Wesley College has produced.


The Ultimate Wesley 1st XV

The Wesley College Old Boys Association named a greatest Wesley XV. What a team it is!


The Team

1. Sekope Kepu (Counties & Australia) -2004

2. Mark Price (Counties) -1998

3. Edwin Talakai (Tonga) – 1989

4. George Stowers (Counties & Samoa) – 1997

5. Koula Tukino (Counties) – 1995

6. Hale T-Pole (Otago, Southland, Tonga) – 1997

7. Danny Kaleopa (Auckland & Samoa) – 1985

8. Jonah Lomu (Counties, Wellington, North Harbour & All Blacks) – 1993

9. Rhys Duggan (Waikato & All Blacks) – 1990

10. Doug Rollerson (Manawatu & All Blacks) – 1971 

11. Sitiveni Sivivatu (Counties, Waikato & All Blacks) – 2001

12. Seilala Mapusua (Otago & Samoa) – 1997

13. Casey Laulala (Canterbury & All Blacks) – 2000

14. Waisake Sotutu (Auckland & Fiji) –  1989

15. Sale Sorovaki (Wellington, Manawatu & Fiji) – 1987



16. Niva Tau’oso (Counties & Junior All Blacks) – 1998

17. Stephen Donald (Counties, Waikato & Junior All Blacks – 2001

18. Sailosi Tagicakibau (Taranaki & Samoa) – 2001

19. Tame Tupou (Brisbane Broncos & Kiwis) – 2001

20. Mike Spence (Manawatu & Waiarapa Bush) – 2001

21. Tomasi Soqeta (Taranaki & Fiji) – 2001

22. Waka Setitaia (Counties)  – 2000


Coaches: H.Tauroa (1973) &  C. Grinter (1991)

Manager: M.Tod (2010)


  • Sean Clotworthy (Otago) – 1986
  • Salesi Moimoi (Tonga) – 1996
  • Tekori Luteru (Counties & Samoa) – 2001
  • Te Hurinui Muru (Waikato) – 1983 -  also trialled with the Junior Kiwis i think. Was paralysed in an accident i think.
  • Tevita Maliau (Auckland & Northland) – 2000
  • Sam Nonoa (Waikato) – 1990
  • Frank Halai (Waikato & NZ 7s) – 2007
  • David Raikuna (Counties & NZ 7s) – 2006



  •  In brackets are the teams they have been most  associated with and outside the brackets  are the last year that they were at Wesley.
  • 13 Internationals are featured in the starting fifteen, two and Kiwi leauge rep are in the reserves.  The starting XV shares an aggregate of 207 tests between them!
  • Every player in this side has played first class rugby. Chris Grinter coached the New Zealand Schools.


Sione said on June 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Probably need to mention Sione Kepu (World Champion NZ U19?s while still at Wesley). Also Ezra Taylor (Highlanders), Siale Piutau (Highlanders), Noa Soqeta (Otago/Southland) and Viliame Veikoso (Otago and Fiji)


Recently sasu mentioned Tony Pulu who's playing well for Counties on the wing - also A Wesley Old Boy named in the 2013 Chiefs development squad..


Stephen Donald famously kicked the goal that won us the World Cup so not a bad reserve to have up your sleeve.

Counties has a long association with developing the schools talent as attested to by last years development squad.  A win win situation and things can only get better ...


2012 Development Group  


Paul Lagi

Wesley College

Nathan Folau

Wesley College

Richard Holani

Wesley College

Beau Meeks

Wesley College

Fuifatu Asomua

Wesley College

Suetena Asomua

Wesley College

Lopeti Mailau

Wesley College

Soakimi Havili

Wesley College

Josh Maiama

Wesley College

Oto Faiva

Wesley College

Tui Umuma'O'Fa'avale

Wesley College

Hawaii Taeniu

Wesley College

Ezra Brown

Wesley College

Te Arahi Wihongi

Wesley College

Luke Rosa

Waiuku College

Raven Moeke-Maxwell

Waiuku College

Filimone Loumuli

Pukekohe High School

Blake Dunstan

Pukekohe High School

Reagan Aylward

Alfriston College

Jayden Hickman

Alfriston College

Faith Letele

James Cook High School

Awa Hanipale

James Cook High School

Mua Tu'umaialu

Manurewa High School

Manuel Kiliva

Manurewa High School

Fatai Tuitavuki

Manurewa High School

Dan Maireroa

Manurewa High School

Reuben Peauafi

Manurewa High School

Tim Hoy

Rosehill College

Joeli Williams

Rosehill College







Feb 09, 2013, 22:17

That kid Savea is a superb runner for a  97 Kgs he looks centre material.

Feb 09, 2013, 22:52

ive been saying for a log while that ardie is going to be the fastest loose forawrd in the comp, the dude ran down oconner who scooped up a loose ball and had a 10 meter head start. ardie savea must have some serious accelration, cos from a standstill start on the other side of the ruck, he ran him down in a second.

i also rate charles piutau as well, one of the most exciting back prospects ina long time, same with alapati leiua from the hurricanes who was just as devestating in the backs.

jason emery was one of the few stars from the NZu20 team, but i would also nominate jordan tafua as one to watch too, he was prob NZs best in the junior world championship. and was a real standout for tasman.

tony ensor is another one to look out for, has a very similar style to israel dagg with his elusive running. was quiet at the end of the ITM, but was insanely explosive at the beginning.

importnt to note that most if not all these players will need time to transist to the higher level that is spXV, it took julian savea a whol;e season before he became the nos infested wrecking ball he is today.

all in all. things are looking tops for NZ for another 10 years, cheers boys, keep up the good work, :o)

Feb 10, 2019, 08:42


Thanks - you are a real gem.  I am going to keep this item alive and watch the youngsters carefully when the games really start.


Feb 11, 2019, 18:40

In my poi-e identity I have an amazing grasp of NZ rugby.....hahaha.

Feb 11, 2019, 19:47

Coincidentally Poi-e/Papakapride’s first post on SuperSupporter was also about an up and coming NZ player to watch, Sonny Bill Williams.....

Feb 11, 2019, 21:21

Not shabby!

Feb 11, 2019, 21:46

It wasn't like SBW was unknown at the time now was it? I've had my run ins with poi-e, but he is a legit poster and it's a pity he doesn't frequent our site more...same as Polly Boy and a few others...ah well, not everyone is so obsessed with being right about rugby all the time.

Feb 11, 2019, 21:48

No he wasn’t but the point at the time was that he was changing direction in order to play for the ABs.

Feb 11, 2019, 21:55

Point taken...and he was actually one of not too many League players who actually made a huge impact on the game of rugby....I'm not trying to negate his thunder. He made a call and he was right. Not too many people prepared to stick out their necks for a prediction good for him.

Feb 12, 2019, 06:03

Now back to SBW - he was not really an unknown by 2010.  He was a Rugby League player and in 2008 to 2010 played Union Rugby for Toulon as a 23 to 25 years old.   Everyone in rugby knew about him by the time the thread was posted in 2013 so the young guns story was not really about him.

As to Ardue Savea - he was already famous in 2013 playing for NZ in the Under 20WC.   He never had the pace to play at center - rather the physical strength to break tackles.   

There was nothing new in that long poi-e post =- all was well-known by the time the posting was  made.   It did not take a New-Zealander necessarily to make that posting     Fact is most of the players were already All Blacks by 2013 or played for the Under 20 WC team - so the young guns story does not sound true too..   It could be a prior Kakprater post on the previous site replicated in 2013 on site,   . Nobody can trust anything the orcs came up with on site.


In my school years we had a rugby coach who used canes to "inspire" our performances in the training field.   We only had about 20 boys in the matric class - three of them later played for the Northern Transvaal (present day Bulls)..                

Feb 13, 2019, 07:17

...not so clevermike my old school they used the same motivational techniques ...former AB coach Hiwi Tauroa  and Wesley College principal of the time would run behind the cross country (of which it was compulsory for everyone to partake) with his cane twice a week.... he was also famed for caning the whole school once...this was before my time but the tradition lived on....sadly Hiwi Tauroa passed away in December of last year. aged 91...bit of legend he was, also coaching Counties to a NPC title ...goes without saying that you left college very fit...multiple international rugby reps attest to the benefits of that cross country course...  

Feb 13, 2019, 08:22

There was nothing new in that long poi-e post =- all was well-known by the time the posting was  made.

Yet you responded with


Thanks - you are a real gem.  I am going to keep this item alive and watch the youngsters carefully when the games really start.

In 2013 you were going to "watch the youngsters carefully". In 2019 you claim to have known all about them already and they were old news.

Fact is most of the players were already All Blacks by 2013

Not in February 2013 when the post was made. Piutau made his AB debut in June 2013. Jason Emery as far as I know never played for the All Blacks (only for the Maori All Blacks). Dominic Bird made his test debut on 2 Nov 2013. Bundee Aki never played for the All Blacks. Ardie Savea only made his test debut in 2016. So by the time the post was made, none of them were All Blacks.

or played for the Under 20 WC team - so the young guns story does not sound true too

So 19 year olds aren't young guns? 21/22 year olds without a single test cap are already established veterans? Only Piutau had played any Super Rugby by the start of 2013. Also, you called them "youngsters" yourself in 2013.

You don't have to try so hard to prove yourself right about everything, Mike. It makes you look even more foolish.

Feb 13, 2019, 08:34

Pakie ... why don't you take your loudmouth and compete against us in the Fantasy competitions?

It might relieve you of all that frustration.


Feb 13, 2019, 11:07

Louis Schmidt
Full names: Louis Ulrich
Date of birth: 6 Feb 1936
Place of birth: Middelburg - Cape
School: Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool
Springbok no: 346
Debut test province: Northern Transvaal
Physical: 1.8m, 94.8kg
Date of death: 23 Jan 1999 (Age 62)

Uli Schmidt
Full names: Ulrich Louis
Date of birth: 10 Jul 1961
Place of birth: Pretoria
School: Hendrik Verwoerd
Springbok no: 544
Debut test province: Northern Transvaal
Physical: 1.8m, 90kg
Current age: 57

South Africa
Full name Louis Ulrich Schmidt
Born February 6, 1936, Middelburg-Cape
Died January 23, 1999, Pretoria (aged 62 years 351 days)
Major teams South Africa
Position Flanker

South Africa
Full name Ulrich Louis Schmidt
Born July 10, 1961, Pretoria
Current age 57 years 218 days
Major teams World XV, South Africa
Position Hooker
Height 5 ft 11 in 
Weight 193 lb

Feb 13, 2019, 11:13

Kinda pointless competing in these things if you don't watch any actual rugby, not so? I can't see myself watching more SR this year than I did last year - which amounted about half of two games.

Feb 13, 2019, 11:52

... I'm not surprised actually.

Your motive for being a part of our little community is much the same as Cerdyne ... one would swear that the two of you are one and the same. 

Feb 13, 2019, 12:50

Actually I contribute a lot more rugby wise here than you do when there's actually proper rugby going on, like during test season (when all you do is tell us how the "goats" are going to lose and disappearing when they don't).

Right now it's bite each other's ass season, and don't pretend like you haven't been participating enthusiastically in that the last few weeks. Which makes you look a little silly on that high horse you're trying to ride.

Feb 13, 2019, 13:00

By the way, if you care so much about "our little community", why do you have a problem with me setting the facts straight?

Feb 13, 2019, 13:04

Which makes you look a little silly on that high horse you're trying to ride.”

Feb 14, 2019, 20:23

What we need here is a list of young guns for this year's Fantasy Rugby games. Every year there's a new player who scores big in Fantasy Rugby.

Anyone got some good tips for Fantasy Rugby? I reckon the Sharks Aphelele Fassi could be a good Fantasy Rugby buy.

Feb 14, 2019, 21:17

Quite a few promising Chiefs youngsters starting this weekend.

You need to Log in to reply.
Back to top