Connacht signing Sevu Reece scores hat-trick in win for Gibbes’ Waikato

FUTURE CONNACHT WING Sevu Reece scored a hat-trick of tries as Jono Gibbes’ Waikato side beat Wellington 43-31 in the Mitre 10 Cup on Wednesday.

21-year-old Fijian flyer Reece is due to join Connacht in November after the conclusion of the Mitre 10 Cup, with the Irish province having confirmed his signature back in May.

Source: All Blacks/YouTube

Reece is in his third Mitre 10 Cup campaign with Waikato, having scored five tries in nine starts in the competition last year, and four tries in nine starts in 2016.

His hat-trick today brings his tally for 2018 to four tries in four games under Gibbes, who will join Top 14 club La Rochelle on a four-year contract as director of rugby upon the conclusion of the Mitre 10 Cup.

Reece’s first try against Wellington came from a lineout play, with the Waikato wing fending former Leicester Tigers number eight Thomas Waldrom on a powerful run to the tryline.

Reece, who played for the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians against the British & Irish Lions last year, grabbed his second only minutes later when he finished in the left corner off a Fletcher Smith pass – the Waikato out-half taking a huge hit for his troubles.

And Reece completed his hat-trick by showing his pace down the left in the second half after centre Quinn Tuoaea had gathered in Dwayne Sweeney’s clever chip kick.

Reece moved to New Zealand from his native Fiji in 2014, starring for Hamilton Boys’ High School and going on to play for the New Zealand Schoolboys side.

He shone for local Waikato club side Melville after leaving school and earned a call-up for last year’s Mitre 10 Cup campaign. With the Chiefs opting not to contract him for Super Rugby, Connacht pounced for the exciting talent.

Reece remains raw defensively and Connacht are likely to have identified a number of areas in his game they can help him to polish, but his attacking qualities are sure to excite the western province’s fans.

With Matt Healy, Cian Kelleher, Niyi Adeolokun, Rory Scholes and Darragh Leader vying for back three spots at Connacht, and Tiernan O’Halloran a key man at fullback, Reece will face stiff competition to break into the starting side.  

Before then, he will hope to help Waikato to build on their win over Wellington, which came after Gibbes’ side had lost their three opening games of the competition.

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