Rugby: Hoping for star billing

By Anendra Singh


Asked why he left Hawke's Bay, Star Timu umms and aahs before explaining why he has gravitated to Whangarei in the hope of securing a Northland jersey this winter.

The former Hawke's Bay Magpie says he's "looking for a change" and "opportunities" with his new club, Hikurangi.

"I'm a Hawke's Bay boy so I'm very disappointed to leave my home," the 22-year-old Hastings Rugby and Sports utility back said last night after leaving for the Far North about five weeks ago.

"I've got to look forward, not back now. I'm keen on something new.

"I have friends and family who are gutted that I've left the region.

"It's pretty sad we're not signing up Hawke's Bay boys but it's their choice, I suppose," Timu said.

Impartial to the centre position, the Bay-born three-season-old Magpie revealed he had mulled over going to Waikato but changed his mind.

Timu ruled out any suggestions he had moved to Whangarei because George Konia, who was Magpies assistant coach to Brendon Ratcliffe, is now assistant to Northland coach Derren Witcombe.

"I didn't even know he [Konia] was going to be there," he said of the 2005-06 coach, who has returned from another stint in Japan to assume the mantle of Taniwha assistant coach.

Satisfied with his fitness and strength for the last four months, Timu is settling in with a young Hikurangi who are "still growing".

"I didn't train for the Hawke's Bay sevens team. I chose to run on the road and worked on my own skills."

The former New Zealand under-20 representative said since returning from the Under-20 World Cup in 2009, he hadn't "got on the field as much as I'd like to have" in the three seasons with the Magpies.

"Jason Shoemark was the captain [as centre] so I didn't get much of a start and in 2011 I had an ankle injury," he said, adding he had this pre-season had a chat with Magpies assistant coach Danny Lee who had advised him to train over the holidays if he wanted to be in the 2013 ITM Cup squad.

Timu's agent had approached the Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union (HBRFU) before he left for Northland.

Neither Lee nor Magpies coach Craig Philpott returned calls after messages were left on their phones last night.

Konia confirmed Timu's fitness and strength were there but felt he could do better with his speed.

Asked if Timu was in the Northland equation, he replied: "Anyone who has got rugby pedigree like Star will make our system so it's good to see him playing.

"At this stage he's a player who has been in the club system for three weeks and he's showing some good signs but at the end of the day he will be selected on his performance.

"We need to see a lot more of him and it's like that for a lot of younger players. He's got a couple of months so the ball is in his court," Konia said, adding he and Witcombe didn't want to get too ahead of themselves.

"Flying under the radar" since his appointment on April 1, Konia is delighted to have his wife, Myra, and their children, Jaksen, 16, Alellerie, 13 and Cassidy, 12, living with him after moving from their Greenmeadows home in Napier.

"It's great to be with the family fulltime again," said the man who has led a nomadic life in rugby after spending close to 14 years building a career in Japan.

Asked if would like to coach the Magpies some day, Konia said: "Any Hawke's Bay product who wants to go out into the coaching field will look at coaching the Magpies.

"I have to focus on the job in front of me and other things will take care of themselves so I won't be pushing it."

 

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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