Rookie Watch: A moment to savour

Getty Images     26 Feb 2019     Getty Images

Every week throughout Super Rugby we will award points to the three best performing rookies and at the end of the season a New Zealand Investec Super Rugby Rookie of the Year will be named. 


Here are our three stand out rookies from round two.

3 points: Liam Mitchell (Hurricanes)

Liam Mitchell is a player that has really been thrown in the deep end. From playing club rugby in Spain less than two years ago, the 23-year-old found himself in the heat of the battle against the defending champions the Crusaders in Christchurch. With locks Sam Lousi and Vaea Fifita out injured, Mitchell has been fast-tracked into the Hurricanes starting line-up and showed his worth at Christchurch Stadium. Despite the Hurricanes going down 38-22, Mitchell was active around the park and determined on defence. He finished with a game high of 18 tackles and carried the ball strongly. 

2: Etene Nanai-Seturo (Chiefs)
An exciting young game-breaker, Nanai-Seturo showed flashes of his attacking brilliance in limited opportunities as the Chiefs went down 54-17 to the Brumbies. But it was one moment on defence where Nanai-Seturo really raised eyebrows. With the Brumbies looking to attack from their own line, Nanai-Seturo wrapped up the ball carrier and ripped the ball free before almost darting over for what would have been a freakish individual try. It is the type of play that cannot be coached and gives a preview as to the attacking threat that Nanai-Seturo will be for the Chiefs in 2019.

1: Tanielu Tele’a (Blues)

Although the Blues came up short 26-7 to the Sharks in Durban, 20-year-old wing Tanielu Tele’a will have special reason to remember his debut. In one of his first touches on the field, Tele’a crossed the chalk from an Otere Black long ball. The try was not just special for being Tele’a’s first in Super Rugby, but it was the Blues 1000th try in the competition. The Blues are now the fourth team in Super Rugby to have scored 1000 tries along with the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Brumbies.
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.