Kiwi-born player to debut against Highlanders

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Lynn McConnell     14 Apr 2018     Getty Images

Oakman-Hunt, who was born in Wellington, has been called into the Brumbies as injury cover for Lachy McCaffrey but was surprised that his twin brother, Dean, who moved to Sydney this year to further his career, didn't get the call first.

Oakman-Hunt told "I was pretty shocked but also pretty flattered by the opportunity that Dan [coach Dan McKellar] gave me. I've had some pretty good games pre-season, and [with] back-to-back games behind me, I was able to build a bit of form.

"I've been playing first grade rugby in Canberra for the last four years now. I think the progression through the local grades is an important method for rugby players to aspire to go through and we have a great system set up here in Canberra with the NRC and Vikings programme helping me out a lot.

"My end goal would be…well, it would amazing to get a contract out of this or at least further my rugby career. That would be an incredible opportunity. I'd be mad not to take it," he said.

A running back rower who can play the passing/offloading game and who is solid in defence, he has a background in international play at schoolboy level.

"It's funny it's [his debut] in New Zealand. I was born over there in Wellington. I think that amplifies just how big this game is for me as well. I've got my father and that over there and they will potentially be coming to the game.

"I find I play better when I've got less pressure on me but I think I'll be focused on the game more this weekend. This is definitely my biggest game yet," he said.

Oakman-Hunt will be part of an effort Highlanders captain Ben Smith expects to be full on from the Australians as they try to break the stranglehold New Zealand teams have had over them recently.

Smith said he was expecting the Brumbies forward pack to throw the kitchen sink at the Highlanders but the home side had been concentrating the areas they could control and how they go about their game.

"I'm sure the Brumbies will have done the same so it will make for a good encounter on Saturday," he said.

Having suffered two losses in their most recent outings, Smith said they had looked at how they could be more effective toward the end of games and making sure they took opportunities that occurred at that stage.