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Eves treads unique path for Hurricanes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/03/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

Chris Eves would be among the least heralded Super Rugby half-centurions.

The Hurricanes prop plays game number 50 against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, having trodden a unique pathway to get there.

Affable loosehead Eves still shakes his head when he recalls how his involvement with the reigning champions began.

After two appearances for North Harbour in 2008, Auckland-born Eves wasn't wanted again, prompting a left-field deal to play for Portuguese club Agronomia.

On the verge of playing for Portugal in 2011, their failure to qualify for that year's World Cup prompted a re-think.

"I came to Wellington for a day to fill in, in club rugby. When I first came down, it was to get away from Auckland and to just try something new," he said.

"I didn't even think I'd play for the Hurricanes but then I got my opportunity. I've been here ever since."

The 29-year-old has specialised as a bench player, injected late into 39 of his first 49 Super Rugby appearances.

He held his nerve when thrust into starting roles during last year's knockout matches, on his less-favoured tighthead side following an injury to good friend Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

Eve helped anchor the Hurricanes to their maiden title, the high point of a career which began in such innocuous fashion.

"My first day at the Hurricanes and I saw Conrad Smith, TJ Perenara and Dane Coles, I was overwhelmed," he said.

"There were all these guys, big names and I was here next to them.

"They were all just pretty cool, pretty casual guys and I got to know them all pretty well. It was pretty good eh."

Eves has started in three of the first four games this season, replacing loosehead Reggie Goodes, who is suffering concussion symptoms.

Eves dismisses the suggestion he has become a team rock.

"Most of my games have been off the bench but it'll be good to get a start on my 50th," he said.

"I'm just pretty happy the coaches keep picking me."

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