Ta­mani­valu de­cides to stay a Crusader

Waikato Times Weekend - - RACING - RICHARD KNOWLER

Seta Ta­mani­valu doesn’t hold grudges when it comes to the Christchurch weather.

De­spite in­ter­est from the

Chiefs, and sev­eral undis­closed off­shore clubs, the three-test All Black de­clared on the eve of the Su­per Rugby semi­fi­nal against the Chiefs that he will stay with the Cru­saders for an­other year.

His rea­sons for stay­ing were sound. He en­joys what he does, likes his team-mates and is hav­ing fun un­der coach Scott Robert­son.

He had con­ver­sa­tions with Chiefs coach-in-wait­ing Colin Cooper, his men­tor at Taranaki, but was con­tent with what he had achieved in his de­but sea­son at the Cru­saders.

‘‘There was al­ways the op­tion to go back to where I started, but I have to do what is best for my fam­ily and my­self as well,’’ Ta­mani­valu said in ref­er­ence to Cooper’s re­quest he re­turn to the Chiefs.

But as Ta­mani­valu, who will start on the left wing at AMI Sta­dium on Satur­day night, stood in­side the club’s gym to chat it was hard not to look at the black clouds scut­tling over the hori­zon and won­der what it would be like to work in a city where you don’t have to layer-up like an eskimo ev­ery win­ter.

It clearly doesn’t bug the Fi­jian born-and-raised Ta­mani­valu too much.

‘‘I signed be­fore this weather came along,’’ he said. ‘‘No, it is all good. I have to get used to it.’’

Sign­ing the cen­tre/wing for next sea­son en­sures the Cru­saders have net­ted most of their key play­ers for next year and beyond, in­clud­ing All Blacks mid­fielder Ryan Crotty who shunned mas­sive of­fers from over­seas clubs to com­mit for an­other year.

It has also been re­ported that the Cru­saders have held con­ver­sa­tions with new Wal­la­bies cen­tre Camp­bell Mag­nay, who is un­able to re­turn to the Reds be­cause his de­ci­sion to sign with Ja­panese club Sun­tory for two years puts him in con­flict with the Aus­tralian Rugby Union’s reg­u­la­tions.

Ta­mani­valu steamed in to the Cru­saders set-up hop­ing to play at cen­tre, but was shifted to the wing be­cause Robert­son pre­ferred Jack Good­hue at No 13.

Ta­mani­valu will make his 14th ap­pear­ance of the sea­son on Satur­day night. Twelve starts were on the right wing, but he has been switched to the op­po­site side to ac­com­mo­date Is­rael Dagg.

Even if the wild weather clears, as is pre­dicted, the tem­per­a­ture is likely to be frigid and the ball slip­pery; the Cru­saders out­side backs should ex­pect to get strafed by the Chiefs kick­ers Aaron Cru­den, Damian McKen­zie and James Lowe.

Ren­nie also gave a ter­rific in­sight into the frac­tious na­ture be­tween the two sides by ad­mit­ting there is no love lost agree­ing they ‘‘hate’’ each other. It all adds to the drama of what could po­ten­tially be a fiery clash.

‘‘It is prob­a­bly the legacy the Cru­saders have down here, the Chiefs boys get mo­ti­vated by try­ing to beat that,’’ Ta­mani­valu said. ‘‘Rens (Ren­nie) is re­ally com­pet­i­tive, as are the other boys in the team. They will be up for the fight to­mor­row.

‘‘As soon as I found out we were play­ing the Chiefs, I could not sleep prop­erly be­cause I know what is com­ing.

‘‘It is go­ing to be real tough to play against my old mates from Hamil­ton and all that. We know they are go­ing to come real hard. We are go­ing to be ready for them.’’

Ben Fun­nell, Wy­att

Crock­ett, Michael Alaala­toa, Luke Ro­mano, Pete Samu, Mitchell Drum­mond, Mitchell Hunt, Ge­orge Bridge Liam Pol­wart, Ai­dan Ross, Atu Moli, Do­minic Bird, Lach­lan Boshier, Fin­lay Christie,

Stephen Don­ald,

Shaun Steven­son

GETTY IM­AGES

Three-test All Black Seta Ta­mani­valu will be at the Cru­saders for at least one more year.

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