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Vito hopes 100th goes to his script

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/08/2016

Victor Vito of the Hurricanes looks on during a training session at Rugby League Park on May 12, 2016 in Wellington © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Victor Vito of the Hurricanes looks on during a training session at Rugby League Park on May 12, 2016 in Wellington Victor Vito will play 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.

The 33-Test All Black heads for France to play for La Rochelle later this month, but now has another chance to help the Hurricanes to the first Super Rugby title.

"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 was aware he could have left the Hurricanes on 99 appearances if they had lost the semifinal to the Chiefs.

However, 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. 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 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."

Fellow players paid tribute to Vito ahead of his final match.

Loose forward Brad Shields said Vito's departure would leave a big gap.

"Hopefully we can do that jersey justice when he leaves."

Long-time teammate Cory Jane described Vito - a definite start for Saturday - as "a hell of a player" and the chance for him to get to 100 matches was in the back of their mind when they beat the Chiefs in the semifinal.

"For him to get here at a hundred - hopefully he gets picked, I don't know, I don't pick the team - is special."

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