Consistency sees Northcott heading north

The Turbos’ Hamish Northcott has landed a contract with the Blues Super Rugby franchise for next year.
The Turbos’ Hamish Northcott has landed a contract with the Blues Super Rugby franchise for next year.

Feilding born and bred, Hamish Northcott has been in and out of Auckland Airport a few times, but that's about it.

He will become more familiar wth the great urban sprawl on November 27, when the Turbos' second five-eighth joins the Blues as a fully-contracted player.

Northcott got the call from Blues coach John Kirwan after Manawatu beat Otago, offering him a position in the Super Rugby team for next year.

Until then, he had heard through Turbos coach Jason O'Halloran that the Blues might have been interested in looking at him for their wider training group.

"John Kirwan congratulated me on my form and my consistent performances," Northcott said.

"To be offered [a contract] for the Blues is awesome."

The other second-fives at the franchise will be All Black Francis Saili and Pita Ahki.

"I'm extremely happy, glad to get an opportunity at the next level, and glad to be playing rugby with a side this year which is playing with confidence."

Northcott has spent all of his 22 years in Manawatu, and feels that a change of scenery will do him good.

Last year he played only four games for the Turbos, but this year he has played 10 of the 11 games, and had to fight his way back into the squad from club rugby.

Now Varsity will need to reshape their backline, with Northcott leaving and fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder confirmed on a full contract for the Hurricanes.

"It's awesome for Manawatu," Northcott said. "It shows what happens if you get wins under your belt.

"If you'd said this was where I would be in a year's time, I probably wouldn't have believed it."

The Chiefs wanted to sign Milner-Skudder last week, but the Hurricanes already had their man.

Northcott and Milner-Skudder will head to Wellington for the induction day for new Super Rugby players on November 26.

In the semifinal against Southland on Saturday, Northcott would have preferred the rain to have been "hosing down" to make ball handling easier.

"It did take an extra half-second to catch and pass," he said. "We were probably operating at only 75 to 80 per cent in that game. We can definitely lift for the final; the boys know that."

Northcott also looked to have been obstructed by Southland's Willis Halaholo when the Stags flew in for their second try.

Meanwhile, Northcott must not only cope with a final but also two university exams soon afterwards. He was hitting the books following the Turbos' pool recovery session yesterday.

Manawatu Standard