Newton Tudreu might have a future at Super Rugby level even after just a cameo of 20 minutes for the Hurricanes in Masterton last Saturday.
He was called in to play only the last 20 minutes on the left wing against the Blues and Manawatu coach Jason O'Halloran watched the game at Memorial Park and was impressed that Tudreu made a couple of nice bursts.
He was also put away by Manawatu's Nehe Milner-Skudder who was on the counter-attack and scored a try after being in support. Milner-Skudder played a full game in the heat after starting at fullback.
Manawatu prop Chris Eves started the game and was typically effective and busy.
O'Halloran said Manawatu flanker Callum Gibbins, who led the Turbos for most of last season, looked in top shape, made big tackles, was physical and scored an easy try out wide.
While both Gibbins and Milner-Skudder are in the Hurricanes wider training squad, Tudreu was only called to Wellington last week because of injuries to Alapati Leuia and Andre Taylor and with All Black Cory Jane not yet playing.
"Newton's confidence will be sky high," O'Halloran said. "They came looking for him and his pace is something they really like about him. He also went pretty well at the [national] sevens."
It is rapid progress for the Fijian lad who has barely had two seasons of senior football with Kia Toa. He is now attending an IRANZ high-performance course at the Sport and Rugby Institute at Massey University.
O'Halloran's pick for the best player on the field was Blues centre George Moala for the way he continually broke the line. When former Manawatu midfield back Hadleigh Parkes came on he staunched the Hurricanes defensive line.
O'Halloran was also full of praise for Junior Tomasi Cama's coaching of the Manawatu team at the national sevens in Rotorua last month, for bringing in a new structure which worked. And with George Tilsley being named man of the tournament and back in the New Zealand sevens team, he could get back into Turbos' calculations should his defence match his blistering attack.
Damaging Fijian Timoci Seruwalu sparked interest from O'Halloran when playing for the Manawatu sevens team. But he may have immigration issues and might have to return to Fiji.
- Manawatu Standard