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New Zealand

Piutau stays grounded despite success

08th November 2013 09:15

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Charles Piutau All blacks trainiing 2013

Making his mark: Charles Piutau

New All Blacks wing Charles Piutau is a player who has made the most of his chances since his introduction to the international arena.

The 22-year-old has impressed since his debut against France earlier this year and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen revealed he would have picked Piutau to start this week, even if Julian Savea hadn't been sick.

That means Piutau has moved ahead of seasoned All Black Cory Jane in the pecking order, even though the duo will both be in the starting XV against le Bleus in Paris on Saturday.

Although Jane's return after a lengthy lay-off due to knee surgery is part of the reason, Hansen acknowledged that Piutau's form - particularly in the victories over Australia and Japan - is also a contributing factor.

"Charles has taken off, hasn't he?" Hansen told Fairfax Media.

"His game against Australia was right up there, and he repeated that against Japan. He seems to be a natural. There's a lot of confidence."

Even All Blacks Dan Carter gave his endorsement of Piutau's qualities as a player.

"I've been really impressed with Charles," said Carter.

"He didn't get many opportunities at first but he's worked really hard, made the most of every opportunity he's had and last week he was awesome. I think he's really growing into the role."

Piutau seems to be taking all the praise in his stride. Being in the esteemd company of several All Blacks stalwarts could prove the undoing of many up-and-coming players but he believes he has been helped by going through a similar experience when he came into Auckland's ITM Cup side straight out of high school.

"I found it quite hard coming into a new environment, and training with Joe Rokocoko and guys I'd idolised," Piutau said.

"That helped heaps coming into this environment, because the experience in this group makes it easy for the young guys."

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