Māori All Black Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi is hoping a move to the Chiefs will secure him more game time in 2018. The Ngāti Pikiao descendant served his apprenticeship with the Hurricanes and will now work with a former mentor.
Back home and training at the Te Arawa Crossfit gym, Tahuriorangi is focussed and ready to take the bull by the horns.
“I just wanted to come here and establish myself being number one, but also compete in a healthy environment with Brad Weber and Johnathan Tamateine who I see as great competitors,” says Tahuriorangi (Ngāti Pikiao).
The former Hurricane will have a familiar face at the Chiefs. Newly appointed coach Colin Cooper was at the helm when Tahuriorangi played for the Māori All Blacks, and Taranaki.
“I guess working under for the last three years at Taranaki, it's helped me recognise that it's more than rugby to him, the connection, [and] the Whanaungatanga, that's what matters to him.”
The lure to bring home his young family back home was an extra incentive to sign for the Waikato based side.
“I've got a little one Thomas who is four years old and he's pretty much grown up down Wellington and Taranaki. So that was another great opportunity for my little boy to come back and to re-connect with my family.”
Spending two years being mentored by All Black TJ Perenara has proved valuable for Tahuriorangi. It's allowed him to identify areas to work on.
“For me, it's just the little things. So what I mean by that is (the) connection with your (Number) 8's. Something I've kind of had all my life is speed. I want to try to keep game-orientated so I can get to the rucks quick.”
Tahuriorangi will get his first opportunity to impress coaches when the Chiefs have their first pre-season match against the Blues in Te Kuiti.