The time may finally be here for All Black halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, who looks in line to get his maiden test start this weekend.
The game against Japan is being stacked with wider squad members, and the absence of Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara has cleared the way for the man they call "Triple T".
There may be another honour heading his way as well, as Perenara and Smith are the usual leaders of the haka. This leaves the way open for Tahuriorangi, who is excited by the potential opportunity.
“It’d be an honour, as a Māori boy, it’s what you wanna do. Hopefully, things fit together and it’ll be an unreal experience,” he said at the All Blacks press conference today in the Tokyo Bay Hilton.
The team has moved to the hotel after staying in the Shiodome, part of the inner city, in the lead up to the test with the Wallabies on Saturday, which they won 37-20.
Tahuriorangi has appeared in one test so far this season, coming off the bench late in the All Blacks’ win over Argentina in Nelson. After the game, his father, father-in-law and partner performed a haka for him in the stands that garnered worldwide attention when a clip of it went viral.
However, he’s not presuming he will get a start on Saturday afternoon.
“I just have to nail my preparation and save my excitement.”
He was quick to remark about the standard of food in Japan, saying that the team had been eating a lot of ramen.
The All Blacks play Japan at 7pm NZT on Saturday night.