By Liam Napier in Brisbane
Every now and then a prospect comes along who captures attention like no other.
Nehe Milner-Skudder was probably the most recent standout in this bracket; Vaea Fifita to a lesser extent in more recent times.
Milner-Skudder, the sidestep king, surged through provincial to Super Rugby and into the All Blacks' 2015 World Cup squad in a flash; all in one season. For Manawatu or the Hurricanes, Milner-Skudder was a must-watch that year and has been ever since.
Now we have Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua. When this kid is around, don't look away. Forget the fridge or bathroom. Put the baby down for a nap. Honey, the dishes can wait a minute. Keep your eyes fixed.
Aumua first burst on to national consciousness with a hat-trick for the New Zealand under-20s as they smacked England 67-17 in their World Cup final this year. It wasn't so much the number of tries, though that feat alone is rare for a hooker, but the brutal manner in which he scored them.
Dane Coles is a special hooker, one who has revolutionised the skills we expect from others in his position. Aumua is a different prospect altogether in that he, like so many genetically gifted Pacific Islanders, is blessed with natural raw-boned power. Freakish power. Coles has had to work hard for every ounce of weight on his frame.
Without getting too carried away too early there's a bit of a young Keven Mealamu about Aumua. His low centre of gravity and love of contact combine to form a human missile that often comes with scary velocity, and scary implications for those who attempt to tackle him.
He's more than that, too. Like Coles, Aumua would not look out of place in the backline. His in-and-away to stand up Canterbury fullback George Bridge, no slouch by any means, was as good as you'll see from any international wing. He can also step, fend and pass.
Aumua is only 20 and yet to play Super Rugby so expectations must be tempered somewhat. We are yet to see his core duties truly tested at the set piece, and no doubt part of the lure of getting him involved is allowing Mike Cron to oversee this next stage.
Aumua's development curve was such that he has done the equivalent of skipping a year level at school. His form was too irresistible to ignore.
It speaks volumes that he will travel north not as an apprentice as Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea, two immensely talented players in their own right, have done previously. He is a full playing member, though only likely to feature in matches against the Barbarians and the mid-week fixture against a French XV in Lyon.
Taking four hookers allows the All Blacks to not use the same players Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday in a combative position. Unless injuries strike Coles and Codie Taylor, Aumua's test debut will probably have to wait. There's no rush.
Regardless, the chance to pull on the black jersey for the first time is sure to be a special, emotional occasion, just as it will be for other newbies Matt Duffie, Jack Goodhue and Tim Perry.
Coles, along with Kieran Read, Wyatt Crockett, Sam Whitelock, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams, will sit out the Barbarians match before joining the remainder of the 37-man squad ahead of the first test against France in Paris.
That leaves the door ajar for Aumua to be potentially unleashed straight away against the Baabaas, though there will be plenty to absorb in his first week in camp before then and he may, therefore, be held back for Lyon. This tour is, after all, a starting point of what already looks a captivating career.