Latu Vaeno has only been out of high school for two years but could make his debut for the Chiefs as early as next month in Rotorua.

Vaeno, 21, signed with the Taranaki Rugby Football Union straight out of Rotorua Boys' High School at the end of 2014, debuting for their ITM Cup side last year.

His performances in the ITM Cup caught the eye of Chiefs coach Dave Rennie who picked him in his squad for the up-coming 2016 Super Rugby season.

Latu Vaeno playing for Rotorua Boys' High School in 2014.
Latu Vaeno playing for Rotorua Boys' High School in 2014.

The exciting outside back, who visited Rotorua yesterday with his team-mates at the Chiefs, said it had been a tough pre-season but he was currently in the best shape of his life.


"At the moment I feel the best I've ever felt. I feel fitter and stronger than ever before," he said.

Vaeno said while he was one of the newbies in the team he would love to break into the starting side and make the wing spot his own.

"That is part of my goal. Even though this is my first year in the Chiefs, and there are a few other wingers, I guess I want to place myself in that position."

The Gallagher Chiefs play their first pre-season game on Friday, February 12, against the Waratahs at the Rotorua International Stadium.

"I'm looking forward to it, especially with it being held here in Rotorua," he said.

"But yeah, you don't know who will get picked in the team, all you can do is train ... so we will see how it goes and hopefully be in the starting line-up for that first pre-season game."

Vaeno, who grew up in Tonga before moving to Rotorua as a teenager, said he certainly didn't expect to be offered a Super Rugby contract following his first season in the ITM Cup.

"I was pretty stoked, especially with it being my first year in the ITM Cup. I never realised I was going to get a call up," he said.


"I had no idea [I was in the mix] until I got the phone call from Dave Rennie. I was just hanging out with a few mates in New Plymouth and got the call out of nowhere."

Vaeno and the rest of the Chiefs will be visiting towns across the Bay of Plenty, and Chiefs region, this week as part of their 2016 Summer Roadie.