Anyone noticed the amazing form of T.J. Perenara lately? It’s like he’s really trying to show the All Black coaches they missed a trick by not selecting him. If you don’t know too much about young Perenara, then have a quick brush up over at the Rugby Fix TJ Perenara player profile. To summarise, he won the Jr World Champs last year and would have been eligible to play for them this year if he wasn’t playing Super Rugby. He scored a hat trick on debut against the Force.
Personally, I had no problem with his non-selection for the All Blacks. It’s easy to forget that he is only 19 years old! An extra season of developing his core skills at the lower levels will do him the world of good. Not only that, but there’s no need to put the extra pressure on him at this early stage of his career. Remember what happened with Isiah Toeava? Admittedly, Perenara is a lot more assured player than him, but the argument still stands. From All Black point of view, there’s no rush either. They have selected veterans Andy Ellis and Piri Weepu along with Aaron Smith. Although Smith is new on the scene, he’s a bit older at 23. Besides, his game is more consistent than Perenara’s to be fair.
The only head scratcher is Tawera Kerr Barlow. He is just as rough around the edges as TJ Perenara, maybe even rougher! Maybe it’s because he is slightly older. I think Barlow is a year or two older. He’s been playing for Waikato in the NPC for a couple of years.
Anyway, this kid T.J. Perenara has been absolutely on fire the last couple of weeks. The game against the Rebels was a bit of a travesty but still, he opened them up. He had a great game against the Highlanders too (even if I admit the Highlanders were robbed of that one).