Things are getting freaky in the Mitre 10 Cup.

No, we are not talking about the free-wheeling rugby or the (negative) impact of the breakdown trial laws.

No, we are in fact seeing an explosion of tryscoring feats from forwards.

Last Friday night we witnessed an astonishing hat-trick by Counties Manukau Steelers prop Kalolo Tuiloma. It was astonishing because he not only became the first prop to cross for three tries in an NPC match since 1984, according to Paul Neazor of ThreeNrugby stats, but he achieved it within the opening 17 minutes of the Chiefs' derby clash with Waikato.


Not since Brian McGrattan of Wellington, who was an All Black, racked up a hat-trick 32 years ago have we seen a player wearing No 1 or 3 gorge himself to this extent.

Tuiloma's feat followed less than 24 hours after Wellington's 19-year-old hooker Asafo Aumua registered a hat-trick against Northland in Whangarei. This was the fourth hat-trick by a hooker in NPC history, following Francis Smith for Northland against North Harbour in 2008, Jesse Ranui for Bay of Plenty against Hawke's Bay in 1989, and Hika 'The Happy Hooker from Ngongotaha' for Bay of Plenty against Manawatu in 1983.

Smith could also play loose forward, while perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised with Reid's feat, as he always carried strongly and scored two of the most famous tries in All Blacks' history in 1980, against Australia and Wales respectively.

Aumua's achievement spawned immediate comparisons with All Blacks hooker Dane Coles, whose seven tries in 43 tests compare more than favourably with Sean Fitzpatrick's 12 tries in 92 tests. But what some may have forgotten is that Coles exploded onto the NPC scene in 2007 with Wellington, a 20-year-old missile from Paraparaumu who scored three tries off the bench, albeit spread over two games, in his first 17 minutes of rep rugby.

Just weeks ago, Northland lock Josh Goodhue scored a hat-trick, in a losing cause, for the Taniwha against Canterbury. This follows Jeremy Thrush's trio of tries last season for Wellington against Southland, the only instances of locks registering hat-tricks in the 40-year history of the NPC. Not since Ian Jones had scored three for the Chiefs against the Waratahs in the 1997 Super Rugby competition had a lock achieved this feat in New Zealand first class rugby.

Just last weekend, centre Rieko Ioane of Auckland and No 8 Joe Tupe of Bay of Plenty scored hat-tricks in the 44-38 thriller in Rotorua. Though two players from either side achieving this has transpired in Super Rugby and the Heartland Championship, this is the first such occurrence in NPC history.

No multi-tryscoring feat has been more unexpected, though, than Wallaby No 8 Greg Cornelsen's four tries at Eden Park in 1978. Apart from the rarity of any player, let alone a forward, doing this against the All Blacks, that quartet of four-pointers remained the only tries Cornelsen scored in a 25-test Wallaby career.

We await more statistical joys in the final few weeks of the 2016 domestic season.