'He's got to understand that he's not 170kg anymore' - Steve Hansen says Karl Tu'inukuafe still leaning how to use new athleticism

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen revealed today that there is lot to like about prop Karl Tu'inukuafe, but there are still areas in his game he can improve on.

The 25-year-old has had a breakout year, going from an uncontracted injury replacement at the Chiefs to an All Black and has been nominated for a World Rugby award.

Hansen told media at a press conference in London that Tu'inukuafe can still grow and get better in his front-row position.

"He's come a long way but he's still got a long way to go," said Hansen.

"He's got to understand that he's not 170kg anymore, he's 130 and is actually a really mobile, good athlete.

"I think it is getting out of the habits of being a 170kg and he's slowly getting there. It's about getting some confidence and clarity about what he is doing other than just the things he's good at.

"It doesn't happen overnight."

Since coming into the All Blacks Hansen says the North Harbour prop has taken his opportunity with both hands.

"He can scrum, he's got a great attitude, he's a humble kid who has had a bit of adversity in his life.

"He's like a lot of people when you get given an opportunity and you've had adversity, you seek to take as much out of it as you can and he's doing that."

Tu'inukuafe will start for the All Blacks at loose-head against England after Joe Moody suffered a season-ending eye injury at training.

"But as I say he's not the finished product he'll be the first to tell you he's not. He's in his first year of a professional contract and he's starting Test match against England."

"So it doesn't get much better than that."

The All Blacks take on England at Twickenham Stadium in London on Sunday at 4am (NZ time).

Steve Hansen said the 25-year-old is a superb scrummager but can still improve in other areas Source: 1 NEWS


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