Hammington happy to grasp every opportunity

Highlanders halfback Kayne Hammington looks to move the ball at training at Logan Park yesterday....
Highlanders halfback Kayne Hammington looks to move the ball at training at Logan Park yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Highlanders halfback Kayne Hammington is a realist.

He is into his fourth season with the side and still has yet to nail down a starting spot.

But when the guy in front of you — Aaron Smith — has played more than 130 games for the Highlanders and nearly 100 tests for the All Blacks then sitting on the pine becomes part of the job description.

The 29-year-old is not getting down about his lack of starts and knows he can only do what he can do.

"The guy I am sitting behind is not too bad, is he? I love being here and love taking every opportunity that I can get. Hopefully, keep him on his toes to a degree," Hammington said.

So would he like to begin games on the field more?

"100%. I think anyone does. It is never nice sitting on the bench.

"We have got Folau [Fakatava] who is a hell of a talented player too so there is a competition between us. That brings out the best in us."

In 41 games for the Highlanders since 2017 he has had just 12 starts. Many of those 41 games have just been minutes near the end of a game which is nearly over.

But coming off the bench is never easy. Like last Saturday night against the Brumbies — the game was in the balance when Hammington came on nearly halfway through the second half.

"We talk about that a little but — not trying to do too much. Just doing your role and hopefully bringing a little bit of energy to the team ... not being too overawed and just staying in the moment."

Hammington was part of the side’s first-up win in Canberra and would love to do that again on Friday night in Christchurch.

"It is always good to get that first win. Canberra is a tough place to play at the best of times so to win there was great.

"Get that first one on the board. Just really happy with how our pressure and determination got us there at the end. We will just keep doing what we are doing and hope more of those wins come."

The Crusaders though are not easy and will be tough to knock over.

The Highlanders have not won in Christchurch since 2015.

"They have set the bar in the last few years and Christchurch is never a very easy place to win. It is always an exciting one, going up the road."

Hammington is back at full fitness after dislocating his big toe early on in the Mitre 10 Cup last year while playing for Otago.

He said it was a niggly injury which took a while to come right and ruled him out for seven weeks.


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