Hurricanes halfback Cam Roigard has made a name for himself with regular Super Rugby game time as veteran TJ Perenara recovers from an Achilles injury suffered last year.
The 22-year-old starred for the Hurricanes in a 34-19 win over the Waratahs which demonstrated his running game with two tries, one of which he ran straight over the top of Wallaby flyhalf Ben Donaldson.
Roigard excelled in the NPC last season which led to a call up with the All Blacks XV development side and has continued that form early this season.
Former All Black fullback Mils Muliaina likened his play to another former All Black halfback and said that he is excelling with the extra responsibility the Hurricanes are providing him.
“He’s just really taking his opportunity, Perenara is obviously out so he’s getting regular time in the 9 jersey,” Muliaina told Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown panel.
“Last year he was outstanding for Counties Manukau and he goes on the New Zealand XV tour.
“I like the way he plays, he almost reminds me a little bit of Jimmy Cowan.
“He’s really hard, he’s got a nice long kicking game. It’s just confidence too, for him, having regular game time.
“He’s starting to snipe more around the corner now. They’ve obviously given him a lot more responsibility in that position. A lot guys don’t.”
Ex-All Black wing John Kirwan said that the intriguing aspect of Roigard is he offers something which the other form halfbacks don’t.
The current crop of All Black No 9s in Aaron Smith, Folau Fakatava, and Brad Weber are pure passers with an attack-focused game.
“What we love as New Zealanders is, we love an extra loose forward,” Kirwan explained.
“I was around when Andrew Donald was there, we called him Shuffle, Justin Marshall, you know big players that can be an extra loose forward.
“That’s what TJ Perenara is right. When you think about Smith and all the other halfbacks that are in form, Finlay [Christie], Brad [Weber], everyone’s in form, but they are quite similar.
“Do we need that balance where we’ve got that big halfback that can play tough around the rucks.
“I think he has taken his opportunity and for me, that’s what it’s about.”
Chiefs and All Black tightprop Angus Ta’avao said the Hurricanes No 9 is one of the form players in the competition.
He urged the halfback to maintain the balance in his game to make the most of the Hurricanes power forwards they have up front.
“If we talk about what Shaun Stevenson is doing, Cam Roigard is doing that,” Ta’avao said.
“He does have that bigger body but I feel he’s not overplaying it too much. He’s looking for those opportunities when it’s on, two meat pies on the weekend.
“He’s also got that inside ball to Asafo Aumua, he’s got the weapons around to use. That balance will be key for him.”
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