Hunt's return a boost for North Harbour

Getty Images

Tuesday, April 10, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

The 23-year-old who is a product of Westlake Boys' High School, originally moved to Dunedin to study surveying at Otago University is one paper away from completing his degree. The combination of rugby and study has placed its own demands on him.

"You have to watch you don't live too much of the student life otherwise it can get in the way of things. I do enjoy it, being down here you have to get amongst it every now and then," he said.

He debuted for Otago in 2016 and made his mark with the Highlanders last season winning selection for the Barbarians who played the All Blacks at Twickenham last year, winning a call-up to the All Blacks where he made the field as a substitute in the 28-23 win over the French XV in Lyon.

Hunt said that now that his studies were almost completed he wanted to head home although he is contracted to the Highlanders in Investec Super Rugby for another season.

He's made the most of his time in the south and spent the bye week exploring the South Island at places like Akaroa and Hanmer Springs. But this week it was back into rugby and the Brumbies in Dunedin on Saturday.

The memories of last season and his involvement in the win over the British & Irish Lions and the end of year with games for the Barbarians and All Blacks had been motivation heading into this season.

The time in Europe had been a blur but he was determined to keep playing his game in the way that had seen him noticed in the first place.

So far as his game was concerned he said there were always work-ons but he was happy with how he was going and it was a case of polishing up each week on things he felt he could get better on.

Looking to the law changes affecting the breakdown he felt it was much harder to secure turnover ball. While he said he was mindful that it was a case of coming through the grades and stepping up levels, he did feel it was harder to get hands on the ball.

"You've got to be faster and anticipate the game now a bit more and that's the only way you can get on it really," he said.