Rugby: Hurricanes recruit Ngani Laumape says rugby has changed during his four-year stint with the Warriors

New Hurricanes signing Ngani Laumape offloads to support during Saturday's Super Rugby trial match against the Blues at Eketahuna. Photo/Getty
New Hurricanes signing Ngani Laumape offloads to support during Saturday's Super Rugby trial match against the Blues at Eketahuna. Photo/Getty

Former Warriors outside back Ngani Laumape admits it has been challenging re-adjusting to rugby at the Hurricanes and says the 15-man game has changed a lot during his four-year stint playing league.

Laumape made a solid start in his first outing for the Hurricanes in Saturday's 40-12 trial match defeat to the Blues in Eketahuna, getting through a quarter of the game at second five-eighth in his first rugby match since 2011.

The 22-year-old is relieved just to have got through the initial hit-out unscathed after a frustrating injury-affected end to his time at the Warriors, but says he is content to fly under the radar as he finds his feet in coach Chris Boyd's side.

"I'm really enjoying the switch. The game has changed a lot since five years ago and I'm loving it," said Laumape.

"Once I got out there I felt sweet. Just the lungs were a bit rusty along with my ball skills, but after a few games I'll be doing well.

"I don't have any expectations or anything. I'll just do my job and what the coaches want from me. I still have a lot to learn and I'm just looking forward to the season."

The match also doubled as Laumape's comeback appearance after tearing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee during a Warriors training session last February.

He recovered to play one game for the club's second tier NSW Cup side last March, only to aggravate the injury further which required him to undergo his second knee reconstruction in less than two years.

After debuting in 2013, Ngani Laumape played 30 NRL matches and scored 11 tries for the Warriors before signing with the Hurricanes for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
After debuting in 2013, Ngani Laumape played 30 NRL matches and scored 11 tries for the Warriors before signing with the Hurricanes for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

The former Palmerston North Boys High schoolboy sensation believes his injury troubles are now behind him as he aims to cement a spot in the Hurricanes backline for the upcoming Super Rugby season.

"It's going well. I had my first game on the weekend and everything went well there," he said.

"I got told that I was starting early in the week and the nerves started coming back and I was getting that excitement of playing again.

"I got my opportunity at number 12 and it has been good and it's a challenge that I'm looking forward to accepting.

"I played 20 minutes and next week will look to build more. The knee's fine and I haven't really thought about it when I'm playing, so the knee is great."

While happy and content in his new environment, Laumape is excited to see his former New Zealand Schoolboy's rugby teammate Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in action at the Warriors and expects his former team will enjoy a successful NRL campaign.

"It's good to see Roger at the Warriors and doing his thing," he said. "I still keep up with the boys. I look forward to watching them and I know they're going to have a good year and I can't wait to see how they go. They've got a pretty good team and I think they'll take out the competition."

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