After impressing for the Blues in Super Rugby Pacific earlier this year, Stephen Perofeta’s dream of playing for the All Blacks is on the verge of becoming a reality.
The 25-year-old’s outstanding form for the Blues led to him receiving a call-up to All Blacks head coach Ian Foster’s squad, but he has been kicking his heels on the periphery of the group during last month’s three-Test series against Ireland and the back-to-back Rugby Championship encounters against the Springboks.
After that lengthy wait, Perofeta was finally named as one of the replacements for the All Blacks‘ Test against Argentina in Christchurch on Saturday.
He will get his chance as Richie Mo’unga’s back-up for the fly-half position after Beauden Barrett was ruled out of the clash due to a neck injury sustained at training.
“I’m extremely grateful and blessed to be in this position, as unfortunate as it is for Baz (Barrett), and his injury, I would never want to wish that on anyone,” Perofeta said.
Realisation of a dream
“Growing up as a kid, it’s always a dream. But it has felt so far (away).
“Just coming from Whanganui – a small town – I thought it was never achievable. But through the support I’ve had throughout my whole journey, the help I’ve got… I’m bloody excited.”
With Barrett likely to return to action when the All Blacks take on Argentina in Hamilton on September 3, Perofeta’s stint in the Test arena could be a brief one. Despite that, Foster has been impressed by the commitment shown by the utility back.
“He (Perofeta) has been quite impressive behind the scenes,” said Foster.
“And the opportunity has come…. The whole group is excited about that. Got a lot of faith in him.”
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