“I’m not here to be Victor Vito, I’m here to be Reed Prinsep,” insists the Canterbury loose forward in his first season with the Hurricanes.
The 24-year-old Men’s NPC regular made the move to the capital in pursuit of greater opportunities in Super Rugby and so far he has started two matches, which is double the game time he had with the Crusaders in 2016.
“The chance to play for the Hurricanes arose in the middle of last year. I had a connection with Jason Holland (Hurricanes assistant coach) who had coached in Canterbury. The Hurricanes were looking for a replacement for Victor Vito so my agent got in touch with Jason and within two weeks I was on the move to Wellington,” Prinsep recalls.
“I am not the flashiest player, but I bring aggression in the tackle and with my ball carries. I work hard on the training pitch and I love being here,” Prinsep continued.
Prinsep was a regular in Canterbury rep teams and spent two years in the Christchurch Boys’ High School First XV. In 2014 he was named Canterbury Colts Player of the Year and made his senior debut for the province. He has since racked up 24 appearances for the red and blacks, winning two National Provincial championships as well as the Ranfurly Shield.
What’s the difference between the Canterbury and Hurricanes cultures?
“I think there are a lot of similarities between the two. Everybody enjoys turning up to work and getting into the detail of preparation week by week. I think the Hurricanes are a really family orientated group. I was grateful to be embraced right away,” Prinsep answered.
Prinsep was welcomed warmly by the Maori All Blacks. At the end of last year he toured USA, Ireland and England in his first national call up.
“My Maori heritage comes from my mum’s side. Her family is from the Te Rarawa tribe in Northland. It’s always been a goal of mine to play for the Maori and to get selected was an amazing privilege,” Prinsep enthused.
Prinsep started in the defeat to Munster in what turned into a highly charged occasion following the sudden death of Munster rugby legend Anthony Foley.
“That was a special night from the presenting of the jerseys to the unique haka. I will remember it for the rest of my life. I guess the game will go down in Munster folklore. The conditions were awful, but the better team won on the night. They played some quality rugby,” Prinsep conceded.
The Hurricanes can ill afford to concede a physical advantage to the Highlanders this Saturday in the 100th Super Rugby match played at the Westpac Stadium. After two record wins against the Rebels and the Sunwolves the Hurricanes were outmuscled by the Chiefs.
“The Highlanders have a very confrontational pack so we will have to bring it in the tackle and reduce our error rate. With the greatest respect to the other teams the guys who have experienced test rugby say the New Zealand derbies are the closest thing to playing a Test match.” Prinsep says.
Prinsep will be involved from the bench this weekend, but with Blade Thomson ruled out for much of the season with a shoulder injury Prinsep is bound to get plenty of minutes.
“I’ve just got to keep putting in that extra five or ten percent at training. I have played a bit of lock for Canterbury, but I am happy wherever the coaches put me.” Prinsep says.
Prinsep has played most of his club rugby for High School Old Boys and earned a Law and Commerce degree while on scholarship at the University of Canterbury. His father Grant is an Operations Manager and Director with Independent Fisheries while his younger brother Blair is a promising prop forward having appeared six times for Tasman.