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Young All Blacks star Hoskins Sotutu leaves Auckland for Counties at provincial level

Rising All Blacks star Hoskins Sotutu is taking his talents south at provincial level after confirming this afternoon he has signed with Counties Manukau for this year’s NPC.

Hoskins Sotutu in Counties Manukau gear. Source: Supplied

Sotutu, who played 15 games for Auckland over the last three years of provincial rugby, confirmed today he has opted to shift to the Steelers where his father, Waisake, used to play.

The 22-year-old will also join Blues teammates Dalton Papali’i and Nepo Laulala at his new province.

“I’m very excited to join Counties Manukau,” Sotutu said.

“Dad got his start in rugby in the region and has played for the Steelers. I also live in South Auckland and have a number of connections to Counties Manukau.

“I’m excited to be joining an organisation with such a passionate rugby community and I hope to develop my leadership and grow as a player at the Steelers.”

Sotutu burst on to the scene last year with the Blues and effectively forced All Blacks selectors to give him a shot, which later translated into his black jersey debut in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington last year.

Steelers coach Tai Lavea said his team was excited to recruit such a talent.

Hoskins is first and foremost a top young man making his mark at the highest level and he’s also passionate about helping grow the community game in Counties Manukau,” Lavea said.

“We look forward to him adding to our exciting group for the NPC season ahead and have no doubt his experience at the highest level will rub off in a positive way on our squad.”