Tamanivalu decides to stay a Crusader
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,
Three-test All Black Seta Tamanivalu will be at the Crusaders for at least one more year.