From Southland to the Wallabies for first five-eighth Wharenui Hawera?

Wharenui Hawera on the run in a provincial game for the Southland Stags last year.

Wharenui Hawera on the run in a provincial game for the Southland Stags last year.

Former Southland Stags first five-eighth Wharenui Hawera is understood to be on the Wallabies radar.

Hawera confirmed on Friday he had signed a two-year contract extension with Super Rugby team the Brumbies.

The 23-year-old was picked up by the Brumbies after impressing for Southland in his first season with the Stags last year.

He had signed a two-year deal with Southland and was expected to return to the Stags setup for this year's Mitre 10 Cup season.

Hawera signs new two-year deal
Wharenui Hawera may not return 


However, Hawera asked Rugby Southland for a release from his second year of his contract to allow him to sign a new two-year deal with the Brumbies.

It is understood the Australian Rugby Union have shown an interest in Hawera qualifying for residency and potentially playing for the Wallabies.

"The feedback we've had from some coaches over there is they see him as a player who could potentially be a Wallaby, so he needs to stay over there," Southland coach Hoani Macdonald said.

"I think he provides a different sort of player at 10 than what they have had I would say. He's probably a bit bigger than their 10s and has a bit more attacking flair about him.

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"He might be the change up they are looking for."

While disappointed to lose Hawera for this season's Mitre 10 Cup, Macdonald was delighted he had pushed on.

"I think there has been a great positive come out of this.

"So a guy came down last year for an opportunity, he came down in late February, made himself part of the community, played club rugby for the full season, played for the Stags and played well, and received an opportunity to go play for the Brumbies and he's been able to kick on and sign for another couple of years.

"It is kind of bittersweet. We are sad to lose him but pleased he has been able to play Super Rugby from Southland."

Macdonald had been planning for some time around the likelihood Hawera wouldn't be coming back and have signed Scott Eade and Greg Dyer.

Lima Sopoaga is also on the books but Macdonald doesn't expect to have his services because of All Black commitments.

First five-eighth is now an area of concern as far with no options within the province jumping out if there were further injuries etc

Macdonald indicated they may need to bolster that particular position from outside the region.

"We don't have a great deal of first fives in the province, so we are looking outside and there might be some decisions made shortly."

Hawera will line up for the Brumbies against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday night in a homecoming for him.

He is from Hamilton and started his provincial career with Waikato before shifting to Southland for more game time.

It has turned out to be a golden move.

"At first I wasn't too keen, but my manager and my family told me it was the best option for me going forward," Hawera said.

"I just hadn't moved out of home, and obviously loved playing for Waikato, growing up in the region.

"But obviously in hindsight I was lucky, it was probably the best thing for me. Southland were awesome in giving me an opportunity, and I knew that once I got down there I'd made the right move, and obviously, it paid dividends."






 - Stuff

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