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Piutau: I can thrive under the pressure of star billing

Kiwi full-back unfazed by living up to expectations

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 16/09/2016

Ulster's big name full-back Charles Piutau has said he is not feeling the weight of his star billing after tonight's opposing coach called him the best player in Guinness PRO12.

The Kiwi, who arrived at Kingspan Stadium this season after a one-year stint with Wasps, will again be the main attraction when Les Kiss's men welcome Scarlets to Belfast this evening (7.05pm kick-off).

Charles Piutau
Charles Piutau

The 24-year-old superstar, however, says he is not one to be fazed by expectations.

"I don't see it as pressure," he said. "As a rugby player I know all I need to do is my role and that is what I try to do to the best of my ability.

"Whether I have the ball in my hand or not, even if it is defence, it's all about just enjoying it and having fun but at the same time making sure I'm playing my part for the team.

"In the past I have come up against teams that will maybe put an extra man on you and will find ways and tactics to keep you out of the game so I just have to keep thinking of other ideas to get my team-mates involved.

"It can be a positive for my team, it means if I pass the ball then I'm sure they will be in space."

In their native New Zealand, Piutau was coached by Scarlets supremo Wayne Pivac and the man charged with limiting his impact at Kingspan tonight thinks he is an unrivalled talent in this league.

"I think Ulster will be up there because they have a very good coach in Les Kiss and the best player in the competition in Charles Piutau," he said.

"He's a confident player and he brings quite a lot. He is a complete player really. A player like that can put a couple of thousand bums on seats."

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