A young man who came into the Blues as a two-week replacement and has now earned five caps as a starter including an eye-catching try.
Twenty-one-year-old Orbyn Leger from Counties Manukau has earned his stripes not only with his excellent performances on the park, but his impressive work ethic on the training ground.
Leger was originally from West Auckland before the family moved when his mother became a teacher at Wesley College and his father – a former Counties Manukau and Tonga midfielder – became the 1st XV coach.
“I started playing rugby when I was five and played my early club for Pukekohe,” Orbyn said.
His parents gave him a choice of high schools, and with both parents heavily involved at Wesley, he decided to head to Hamilton Boys as a boarder.
“I thought it would be good to start on my own and learn to cope on my own.”
He advanced to the 1st XV and on leaving school, had the choice of rugby academies in the Waikato, Counties or Auckland.
“I choose Counties because there was a scholarship with it to AUT,” said Leger who is completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport. “And there were lots of familiar faces there.”
After strong performances for the Counties side at the Under-19 national tournament, he forced his way into selection last year for the New Zealand
Under-20s successful tilt at the world championship title.
That led to selection in the Counties Manukau team for the Mitre-10 Cup. And then he was asked to come in pre-season as a short-term replacement in the Blues side.
He has earned a starting role alongside Rieko Ioane and then with Sonny Bill Williams.
“I was pretty, star-struck to tell the truth. I thought holy cow. But Sonny was awesome – he’s a good talker and helped me find my feet. I have learned so much from both of them.”
The highlight was his superb try against the Hurricanes when he received a typical brilliant pass in traffic from Sonny.
“I knew he would get free for something during the game so I stuck around and kept close to him.”
Orbyn has loved his opportunity and the experience in Super Rugby – something he hopes will grow to a full contract in 2019.