Victor Vito is on track for a dream farewell when he plays his 100th and final game for the Hurricanes in Saturday’s Super Rugby final, hoping to deliver the franchise the parting gift of a maiden title.
“It certainly seems like the script’s been written a little bit,” loose forward Vito said on Monday, ahead of the home clash with the Lions at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium.
The 33-Test All Black heads for France to play for La Rochelle later this month.
“A hundred games is pretty massive for me personally, but for me I’m just more excited about the fact that once again we are giving ourselves shot to win a title as a team.”
He wasn’t thinking about the possibility of the side losing two finals in two years, after last year’s defeat by the Highlanders.
“Last year was last year and this year’s team is a completely different team,” said Vito.
That sort of thing probably would have hung around a little bit if we had pretty much the same team.
“But it’s quite a different feel this year, it’s no better or worse, it’s just different.
“I think the culture’s been building for the last few years and if anything, the teams before, especially last year’s team just instilled that belief.”
The departure of All Blacks centre stalwarts Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith and the loss through injury of Nehe Milner-Skudder meant there were some green players, Vito said.
“They’ve all just put their hands up and I think that’s been the biggest thing that’s made us happy as a team.
“Even though guys have gone down they have just slotted in.”
Long-time teammate Cory Jane described Vito as “a hell of a player” and said the chance for him to get to 100 matches was in the back of players’ minds when they beat the Chiefs in their semi-finals.