Super Rugby: Vince Aso carving niche on Hurricanes wing

By Campbell Burnes

Vince Aso is far from the biggest star in the Hurricanes backline.

But the 22-year-old Aucklander is fast making himself indispensable on the right wing, having scored four tries in two games and averaging 139 metres, the top in Super Rugby.

Aso has already proven himself as a player of potential, having appeared for NZ Schools in 2012 and New Zealand Under 20 in 2014-15. Remember, he scored a sizzling solo try to help them to the 2015 world title?

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd used him on the wing in the 2014 Junior World Championship in New Zealand, so knows what he can do on the flanks.

Aso is more of a midfielder, playing 16 games for the Hurricanes in 2016, starting 11 of them at either second-five or centre. However, he was thrust onto the right wing due to Cory Jane's injury in Tokyo and has shown himself to be a reliable finisher with no little skill.

Against the Sunwolves, he scored a brilliant solo try from a chip and regather, and last Saturday, he latched onto a Beauden Barrett chip for his first five-pointer and then finished a sweet blindside one-two move with TJ Perenara.

"The boys are just feeding the ball out wide, and I'm just more scoring more tries and doing the job," says Aso. "I like the midfield, but if I have to I'll stay on the wing.

"In the midfield, you have to be more alert on defence, whereas on the wing, you can see the pictures and react."

As he says, Aso would like to slide back into the midfield, but has two considerable roadblocks in centre Matt Proctor, a man whom former Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said would one day be an All Black, and second-five Ngani Laumape, the former Warrior.

The latter is posting some compelling numbers, averaging 119.5 metres a game - the third highest in the competition. Laumape is bringing the direct approach (168m last week) that served the Hurricanes so well in 2015 with Ma'a Nonu.

The go-forward brings the loose forwards into the game, and opens up attacking options to the left and right. It is no surprise they have made hay, albeit against porous defences.

Back to Aso. He carried for 114, mostly effective, metres against the Rebels and made three breaks. Others hogged the limelight and the statistical analysis, notably Laumape, the Savea brothers and Nehe Milner-Skudder, but Aso is thriving on the surfeit of possession.

Not bad for a transplanted midfielder. On Friday night, he should have a tremendous battle with James Lowe, the Chiefs flyer who has just announced he is off to Leinster in August.

Lowe, too, is in sparkling form.

- NZ Herald

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