Rotorua Daily Post sports reporter

Rugby: Shift to Bay well worth it for Tiatia

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New Chiefs signing Chase Tiatia is looking forward to getting his first run for the Super Rugby franchise. He is pictured playing for the Bay last year. Photo / Andrew Warner
New Chiefs signing Chase Tiatia is looking forward to getting his first run for the Super Rugby franchise. He is pictured playing for the Bay last year. Photo / Andrew Warner

New Chiefs signing Chase Tiatia says moving to the Bay of Plenty from Wellington last year was the "best thing I could have done".

Tiatia, 20, will most likely get his first run for the Chiefs today at the Rotorua International Stadium, when the Super Rugby franchise take on the Waratahs at 4pm in their opening pre-season game.

The exciting outside back moved north to the Bay of Plenty as a teenager last year to play for the Steamers. He won the Back of the Year Award in his first season with the Bay, before earning a spot in a new-look Chiefs team heading into this Super Rugby season.

"Moving out of Wellington was probably the best thing I could have done," he said.

"It all paid off and ... hopefully the Bay wants me for a few more years."

He said he did not expect to sign with a Super Rugby franchise after his first season with the Bay.

"I did not expect to be called into Super Rugby - it is my dream come true. I have a dream job so I can't complain."

Tiatia lives with Chiefs and Bay of Plenty team mates Ziggy Fisiihoi and Mike Kainga in Hamilton, and hopes to get a crack at the wing position for the Chiefs.

"If I keep putting my hand up at training and training hard and doing what I can when I get ball in hand at training, hopefully I will get a shot."

He said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie had made it clear the match today was more of a trial game than a pre-season game.

"I guess this is where you put your hand up and try and earn your spot for the first round, so I will really be itching to get out there and show my stuff," he said. "And it's a nice stadium in Rotorua, so hopefully the fans get out and support the boys."

Tiatia said it had been a tough pre-season, over the summer, and he had been working hard with the Chiefs coaching staff and trainers.

"Coming off my ITM season I was a bit out of condition. The trainers worked me hard before Christmas but now I'm feeling good and ready to go."

Getting to the game:

* What: Gallagher Chiefs v Waratahs (pre-season game).

* Where: Rotorua International Stadium.

* When: Today at 4pm, gates open at 3pm.

* How much: Grandstand $20, adult general admission $10, child (under-15) general admission $5, under-5s free.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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