TJ Perenara will get the majority of game time against Argentina, and the 23-year old shouldn’t be under too much pressure.
(Photo credit: Zimbio via Google Images)
Perenara may not acknowledge it, but the gap between Aaron Smith and every other halfback in world rugby is a large one, and barring any injury, will remain so well beyond the World Cup.
Perenara is a mirror image of Smith in a lot of ways, both in size and enthusiasm, and speed which can strike from the back of the scrum at any moment. Perenara is also beginning to push himself further into the minds of the NZ public as a genuine All Black starter.
Perenara got a good opportunity to test his skills at the highest level last year, achieving 11 tests for the All Blacks.
Perenara is a long way off number one halfback selection, but he is certainly in the conversation, and he will continue to warm the hearts of fans, especially in the Wellington region. Perenara will need to continue to improve this season but doesn’t need to feel any pressure to perform amazingly starting against Argentina on Friday night.
Christchurch will be a good opportunity for Perenara to show selectors that he can hold the backline together.
Perenara must pass quickly and be accurate with his box kicks as the All Blacks will look to target Argentina with the high ball in the cold conditions, expected to be around zero degrees at kickoff.
In a nutshell, Perenara just needs to do the basics well. Scoring a try will be a bonus.
Perenara has one try for the All Blacks, but his tally for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby this year suggests that will rise, if Perenara can bring his form over to the international game.