Lit­tle Leo

When his son was born with a rare ge­netic dis­or­der, Su­per Rugby star An­gus Ta’avao was forced to con­sider his ca­reer. By Au­drey Malone.

Sunday News - - NEWS -

CHIEFS prop An­gus Ta’avao has shown he’s got a gi­ant heart to match his tow­er­ing physique.

The 1.94m and 124kg man moun­tain has en­joyed a resur­gent Su­per Rugby cam­paign this year after com­ing home from a twoyear stint across the Tas­man – but he’s re­vealed he was ready to give the game away to make sure his new son Leo got a good start in life de­spite be­ing born with a rare ge­netic dis­or­der.

Lit­tle Leo was born in Syd­ney last year and spent three months fight­ing for life after be­ing born with with par­tial-tri­somy-13, a ge­netic dis­or­der which af­fects the child’s abil­ity to grow.

Be­cause many ba­bies born with the dis­dorder don’t live more than a year, Ta’avao’s part­ner, Kristyn Brad­field, de­cided she was go­ing to come home to be closer to the sup­port of friends and fam­ily.

The de­ci­sion left the 27-yearold, who had cap­tained the U20 All Blacks be­fore join­ing Auck­land and then play­ing for the Blues between 2012 and 2015, with a tough de­ci­sion: head fur­ther afield in search of a big money over­seas con­tract or re­turn to New Zealand where, ap­par­ently, there was only the chance to play pro­vin­cial rugby for Taranaki.

But Ta’avao says be­m­ing a par­ent has put ev­ery­thing into per­spec­tive, giv­ing him fo­cus and

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