‘As good a chance as anybody’ – Coach tips All Blacks hopeful for first call-up after ‘immense’ semi-final performance

Dylan Coetzee
Chiefs number eight Wallace Sititi making a break against Hurricanes.

Chiefs number eight Wallace Sititi making a break against Hurricanes. "James Foy / Speed Media / Icon Sportswire

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillian heaped praise on rising star Wallace Sititi after his amazing outing in their 30-19 win over the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals.

Sititi was at the heart of a lot of good for the Chiefs with his powerful running and defending a highlight of his performance. The number eight made 15 carries making 150 metres, beating four defenders and also had the time to complete 14 tackles.

In with a chance

He has been at the heart of All Blacks selection discussions and has been featured in several Razor Watch pieces in 2024. Sititi, whose father Semo Sititi played 59 times for Samoa, impressed his coach with his semi-final performance.

The coach also suggested that the semi-final outing just about punched his All Blacks ticket, although there is no saying for sure.

“I thought he was immense, he had several involvements in big plays. He’s got a massive future,” said McMillan.

“A number of our guys would be putting their names in pencil if not ink. You’d have to think he (Sititi) is as good a chance as anybody.”

“He’s young and still got a lot to learn but some people just have something about them that catches the eye and he’s one of them.”

Back-row depth

Of course, there is massive depth in the back-row for New Zealand with Ardie Savea the last to wear eight for the All Blacks. Then there is the red-hot form of Hoskins Sotutu to compete with while Hurricanes Brayden Iose and Peter Lakai have had blockbuster seasons.

It will be really interesting to see how All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson goes about selecting his first team with Sotutu’s form possibly enough to force Savea to flank to accommodate him. With that being said it does not rule out Sititi, who proved in the semi-final that he can single-handedly change a game.

READ MORE: Seven players who boosted their All Blacks chances in the Hurricanes v Chiefs semi-final