Hurricanes coach backs young star to crack All Blacks as a fullback

Hurricanes coach Jason Holland loves nothing more than when his players get selected in the All Blacks, especially the first-timers.

Heading into the new Super Rugby Pacific season, Holland said the Hurricanes management have set themselves the goal of getting as many new players into the All Blacks set-up as possible.

Holland believed there were three or four knocking on the door, including promising playmaker Ruben Love.

Helping his cause, the 21-year-old is set for a consistent run at fullback with Jordie Barrett being retained as a second-five, a move Holland insisted was not influenced by the All Blacks, but one that should please Ian Foster and co nonetheless.

Wearing the No 15 jersey, Love was one of the stars of Wellington’s NPC title-winning campaign last year.

He scored six tries, including one in the final as the Lions snapped their 22-year championship drought.

Call-ups to the Māori All Blacks and All Blacks XV teams suggest Love is not far away from a maiden All Blacks call-up, and Holland is backing him to make the jump in a World Cup year.

“He had a pretty special season for the Lions at 15, Rubes,” Holland said.

“The time and space thing was awesome for him and we saw how effective he is with ball in hand.

“We take a lot of satisfaction in players being selected as All Blacks, especially the bolters who haven’t had a look in before.

“Behind the scenes we have a drive as a management to get as many people into that All Blacks set-up, and hopefully there’s more than Rubes as we reckon we could have three or four bolters.

“It’s up to us to play some good footy and to win some footy so they get those rewards.”