Thursday, May 7, 2020
There is no place like home, just ask All Black halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi who has signed to play for the Bay of Plenty Steamers.
The 25-year-old has always had plans to return home to play his rugby.
“Obviously, being from Rotorua and playing in the Naki, it does feel like home but there is a saying ‘there’s nothing like your actual home’, and I’ve always wanted to come back to the Bay. I didn’t know when, but the time feels right.”
The three-test halfback says spending more time with his young family was a strong motivation for his switch back to the Bay.
“I’ve got a wife and a little boy who live in Rotorua. So, it’s kind of tough to not see them during Mitre 10 Cup. That was a massive reason why I wanted to come back to the Bay.”
Tahuriorangi who played 20 games for Taranaki says the Taranaki coach understood and respected his decision.
“I was having a good talk with the coach at the time, maybe last year, I said to him, I’ve been with Taranaki for five years and I think it’s about time I go back home, to see my little boy grow up.
“Obviously, the Bay is doing well. So, it’s awesome to come back into an environment like that. He just understood from there it’s always been about my family.”
Tahuriorangi says not only is he looking forward to getting alongside his team-mates and share his experiences. But he is excited to get the opportunity to help develop the young rugby talent in his home town of Rotorua.
“The Steamers are in a good place at the moment, especially depth-wise. My ultimate goal is just to make sure I bring value. On the field that’s me being able to understand my role, get to know the boys, and connect at that level.
“I’m wanting to grow my game, by trying to help the younger generation, especially around Rotorua. To show them, you can come from a small city or town and still be able to fulfill your dreams.”
Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan has been in discussions with Tahuriorangi over the last couple of years to try and lure him home.
“He is a Rotorua boy who played his age group rugby for Bay of Plenty. He took opportunities elsewhere after leaving school and has developed into a quality player and man. Attracting players with his level of talent and intellectual property back home is a fantastic result, and further testament of the progress being made as an organisation."
McMillan says Tahuriorangi will make a good addition to the team.
“He has played at the highest level. He is a dynamic player who can break a game open through his speed and instinctiveness, so he will certainly add value to the way we want to be playing.
“More importantly, he will be a fantastic mentor for some of the younger players in our environment and no doubt the wider rugby community”.