It is 2011 and the last minutes of the annual St. Peter's College versus Auckland Grammar School grudge match are desperate. St. Peter's are narrow leaders and grimly defending their tryline from a determined Grammar assault.
Vince Aso is 16 years old, confident and relaxed. St. Peter's coach James Bentley is the total opposite.
"Our captain Patrick Tuipulotu was screaming at our guys not to give away any stupid penalties. I started to chime in 'strongly encouraging' the boys to make their tackles,” Bentley explains.
“Vince turns around and looks straight at me with a big cheeky grin on his face and says, 'Don't worry sir we have this under control.
"He was the calmest person in the ground that day, and he was right, they did have it under control and secured a famous victory." Bentley recalls.
This easy personality has served Aso well at the Hurricanes. In 2016 the departure of redoubtable midfield pairing Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu had critics dismissing the Hurricanes prospects as Super Rugby title contenders.
Aso proved to be a solid replacement, appearing in 16 of 18 games. In 2017 the emergence of Ngani Laumape and injuries to other personnel has forced Aso to shift to the wing, a position he isn't entirely comfortable with.
"I prefer midfield. I have played midfield my whole life." Aso admits.
A change in style of defending has proved tough to grasp.
"When you’re defending at 12 or 13 you’re typically marking your direct opposite the whole time. It's a narrower channel and you can put in the big shot more often. On the wing its big picture defence. You can see the whole field and that requires greater thinking." Aso reveals.
Despite self confessed limitations as a winger, Aso has proved to be a revelation in the position. He is the joint leading try scorer (with Laumape) in Super Rugby.
"Since leaving school I have played a lot of wing. At the Hurricanes learning from the likes of Cory Jane and Julian Savea has been an awesome ride. I am just trying to get better every week." Aso explains.
Aso bewildered the Sunwolves with two tries, crossed the chalk twice against the Highlanders, but his favourite try was against the Rebels in the Round Two twilight at Westpac Stadium.
"My favourite try was against the Rebels, the one set up by TJ. TJ made a big run and together we went the length of the field. That was a big buzz." Aso acclaims.
Aso is a Ponsonby junior and has played 28 times for Auckland and scored eight tries in the Men’s NPC. He was selected for the New Zealand Schools in 2012 and the New Zealand Under-20's in 2014 and 2015. In the latter year he was a member of the team that won the World Rugby Junior World Championships and scored an outstanding try in the final.
Aso's move south was governed by a desire for "greater opportunities" and "getting out of my comfort zone."
"The Hurricanes aren't about one person, it's about everyone. If one person falls over there is another one there to pick him up. All the family and partners get on. It's a great culture and culture is big for me." Aso stresses.
"I am an Auckland boy, but I love Wellington." Aso continues.
Outside of rugby, Aso is a part-time builder and studying for a Bachelor of Human Services at Victoria University. The junior is a cousin of Blues players Akira and Rieko Ioane.
The youngest of four brothers, Aso aligned with the Petone club in the capital and played in the famous McBain Shield against Hutt Old Boys Marist last year. Opposite wing Willie Fine scored three tries in a 27-24 Villagers victory.
This Saturday the Hurricanes play the Blues in Auckland. Aso played in both of the Hurricanes’ wins over the Blues in 2016, in the 12 jersey and at centre respectively. The first 23-16 win at Eden Park was significant for being the Hurricanes’ first of the season, launching their title winning season. The second return fixture resulted in a 37-27 victory. TJ Perenara scored two tries in the Auckland game and Vaea Fifita bagged a brace in Wellington.