July 6, 2020 / 4:59 AM / a month ago

Loose forward Sotutu sticking with the Blues

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Loose forward Hoskins Sotutu has signed a two-year contract extension with the Auckland Blues, the New Zealand-based Super Rugby side said.

The 21-year-old has impressed for the Blues in both Super Rugby and the domestic ‘Aotearoa’ version this season and has been tipped to receive an All Blacks call-up if they play again later this year.

Sotutu is also eligible to play for Fiji through his father, former Auckland and Blues stalwart Waisake, and England through his mother.

Local media had reported both Fiji’s Vern Cotter and England’s Eddie Jones had been sounding him out but his decision to remain in New Zealand until 2022 has likely put paid to their chances of calling him up.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald said the work Sotutu had done in pre-season was paying off.

“He has a unique skill set which is well-rounded,” MacDonald said in a statement on Monday confirming the number eight’s contract extension.

“He has set up tries with his kicking and with accurate missed passes yet he can do the core roles of carrying hard, offloading, making his tackles and (is) an asset in the lineout.

“Hoskins got his chance with the work he did pre-season and has continued to deliver game-in, game-out.”

New All Blacks coach Ian Foster is looking to fill the void at number eight left by former captain Kieran Read, with Sotutu making the most impact in Super Rugby so far as a potential successor.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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