Sunday, July 14, 2019
Maori All Blacks halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi hasn’t let his non-selection into the All Blacks get him down instead he’s using his time in the team to regain the coveted jersey.
"For me, it’s the pinnacle of rugby in New Zealand to make the All Blacks. It’s pretty frustrating [not being selected] but then again it gives me the opportunity to come and play for the Maori All Blacks. I’m just really excited to be in this team and to go to Fiji and play a top tier team.”
Named to start in the first match against the world’s ninth ranked Fijian team in Suva that beat the Maori All Blacks 27-10 over the weekend, Tahuriorangi hasn’t given up all hope of being named in the team to defend the Rugby World Cup.
“I’ve got some good feedback. For me it’s about getting minutes under the belt and playing some footy and just enjoying myself and expressing myself and what better team but come to the Maori All Blacks who do that and play the style I want to play. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
The former Rotorua Boys’ High School student says his focus for now is doing the best job possible for the Maori All Blacks.
“For me it’s just nailing my roll. A lot of it comes down to my preparation and making sure I tick the boxes during the week.’’
The side are in Fiji to play the Flying Fijians this weekend. But return to Rotorua for the rematch at the Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday July 20.
Tahuriorangi says it was great to be back home and is hoping the city get behind the team by coming to the match.
“Coming home being around family and friends that’s been great. Hopefully Rotorua puts it on for us. It hasn’t been the best weather so far but hopefully when we come back from Fiji, it’s a bit clearer, the sky is blue and we get some good footy out there, because you know that’s what everyone wants to watch.’’
Rotorua will be in full Pacific swing next week with several events happening around the city to coincide with the Maori All Black match.
An official pohiri will be held at Te Papaiouru Marae on Tuesday July 16, at 12pm. Later that day the Maori All Blacks will hold an open training for the public at Puketawhero Park.
Then on Thursday from 9am to 3pm, the Patchells Si-Lodec Holiday Rugby Programme will take place at the Southern Trust Sportsdrome. Also, on that day the Imaginary Birds – Birds of the Pacific will be held at the Rotorua Library – Te Aka Mauri at 10am. The Rotorua Night Market (5pm-7pm) will also have a Pacific theme with a number of Maori All Blacks looking to attend.
The Fijian community will be holding a community church service at Toi Ohomai Campus (L Block) which is open to the public. Both the Flying Fijians and the Fijian Under-20 team will attend. The service gets underway at 6.30pm.
On Friday, Horohopu ‘Give it a go Day’ a traditional Maori game will be held at the Southern Trust Sportsdrome from 9am to 1pm. There will also be a Pasifika Pool Party being held at the Aquatic Centre from 12pm-4.30pm (regular door charges apply).
Saturday is all action with the New Zealand Maori Under-18 men and women’s team will be holding a whanau day at Westbrook Field from 9am-10am, then the women’s team will have a trial match at 11.30am, followed by the men’s team at 1pm.
The Ahurei Pasifika Celebration will also be held on the Westbrook Fields celebrating the Pacific Island and Maori culture from 12pm to 6pm. Pacific Island and Maori inspired food stalls, art and entertainment will be on show as well as the chance to win prizes. Entry for this event is free.
Tickets for the Maori All Blacks vs Fiji game are available on allblacks.com.