Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Rugby: Buzz growing around strong, silent fullback

Mark Hammett. Photo / Getty Images
Mark Hammett. Photo / Getty Images

It doesn't take much to leave Matt Proctor speechless.

The Hurricanes fullback is a reserved young man and one of the things he and his coach Mark Hammett acknowledge he has to improve is his communication skills.

But Hammett is also a big believer in Proctor's ability and when Andre Taylor went down with a serious ankle injury during the Hurricanes' 45-8 victory over the Chiefs in Wellington last Saturday, the coach was in no doubt who would replace the Japan-bound Taylor.

"Matt Proctor's just a superb footballer," Hammett said after the game. "I think he'll be an All Black one day. So he's likely to get his opportunity."

Hammett made good on his promise when he then named Proctor to start against the Blues at Eden Park tomorrow but when the 21-year-old was told of his coach's bold prediction about higher honours yesterday he was left, well, speechless. He could only smile and shrug his shoulders.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes prop Ben Franks has been ruled out of tomorrow's game with a groin injury and will be replaced by Reggie Goodes in the starting XV with Brendon Edmonds coming on to the bench.

- NZ Herald

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