19-year old sensation Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti) has been called into the Hurricanes' train-on squad effective immediately making him the youngest in the squad.
Who would have thought there would be a strapping 19-year old Ngāti Porou cowboy in the Hurricanes this year?
“Yeah there's always a lot of support from home. Just with anything that happens. Just with making teams, and not making teams and getting support from home is really good.”
His heart is intrinsically East Coast, but Wellington has Walker-Leawere putting in the hard yards. This week, the man mountain was moved to the Hurricanes' training squad, and is reaping the rewards.
“It's a big difference. But when you've got people down here like the coaching staff, Wattie, they're just always helpful and always there to go to.”
Perhaps it was his feats in last year's Gisborne Boys' High School First XV or the NZ U20's side that had the Hurricanes coaching staff noticing him. Could be a family trait? His father captained Fiji at the Rugby World Cup in 2007.
“Played a couple years in the East Coast in the heartland comp, went on played a few years for Fiji. Yeah he's pretty good. Pretty handsome fullah.”
By the looks of things, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
“It's good. It's a big step up - A good opportunity to learn from the best and be surrounded by the best.”
Although Walker-Leawere will not play in this weekend's clash against the Waratahs, the ultimate dream would be to get a run with his new team-mates in their 'other' team.
“You could say that but I don't really know.”
What seems so far may actually be just around the corner.