Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team's head coach Mark Ozich have been giving winger Michael Buckley plenty of flak about not talking enough on the field.
"I didn't want to be the new guy coming in and talking too much," Buckley said.
It's fair to say Buckley's actions have spoken for him and he has earned his second starting XV appearance of the season in tonight's Mitre 10 Cup 10th round crossover clash against the Tasman Mako in Nelson. He scored a try and finished with an average gain of 9.6 metres from his nine carries and three defenders beaten in his start in the 49-24 loss to Canterbury.
During 23 minutes of action in last week's 45-17 win against Manawatu Buckley, 23, scored a try, beat two defenders, made two line breaks and finished with an average gain of 4.4m from five carries.
"I'm enjoying the minutes I'm getting and I'm pretty stoked to have another start," Napier Old Boys Marist club player Buckley said before the Magpies flew south yesterday.
"The Canterbury game was played at a faster pace and was definitely challenging. Tasman will be another tough one but we have to give it another crack like we did against Canterbury but for more of a full game."
The top tryscorer in Hawke's Bay premier club rugby this season with 35, Buckley, agreed the healthy competition between him and regular left winger Mason Emerson is bringing the best out of both players. Buckley is enjoying the previews and reviews involved with being a professional player.
"At this level there is a high level of tactical approach. At club rugby there isn't a lot of previews on other teams."
While improving his chatter is his biggest work on Buckley said he is also keen to improve his kicking game - kicks for touch, grubbers and kick and chase as well as his catch and pass skills.
A former loosie during his days with the 2008 title-winning Napier Ross Shield team, the 2011 Hawke's Bay under-16 team and Napier Boys' High School 1st XV in 2012 and '13, Buckley, switched to the wing when he moved to Wellington in 2014 to study accounting and commercial law. He had four weeks in the Wellington Lions wider training squad last year but didn't get any Mitre 10 Cup game time as former All Black Julian Savea returned to the squad.
"I still miss being in the forwards sometimes but I'm enjoying being out on the wing," he added.
Magpies captain, loosie Gareth Evans, will miss tonight's match with a foot injury. Hooker Ben Power is also unavailable as he deals with ongoing concussion protocols and midfielder Pasqualle Dunn is out with family commitments.
Ozich said other changes to his starting 15 used in the win against Manawatu have been made with the aim of resting players who have had plenty of minutes and also giving others opportunities.
"Tasman are going to be pretty explosive. We'll be aiming to get as close as can be. It we can compete at the back end of the match, score five or six tries, score a couple of competition points and try and burgle a win I'll be happy," Ozich said.
It will be interesting to see how Magpies utility back Stacey Ili goes in his first start at first five-eighth. With Ili moving from 13 to 10 and Dunn unavailable, Ozich will field a new-look midfield combo with Danny Toala at second five-eighth in his first starting XV appearance, and Sasa Tofilau at centre.
Regular starting prop Mark Braidwood will be used off the subs bench. Hurricanes and Maori All Black prop Ben May was a late withdrawal and has been replaced on the subs bench by Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe.
Should Tavita-Metcalfe get game time it will mean all six members of last year's national title-winning Hastings Boys' High School team in the Magpies squad will have turned out at first-class level this season. Halfback Folau Fakatava, pivot Lincoln McClutchie and Emerson, the substitute backs, will provide quality impact off the pine.
The Magpies will face a Tasman outfit which deserves their top spot on the Premiership ladder. Class is splattered throughout the Mako roster with the likes former All Black prop Wyatt Crockett and former All Black utility back David Havili who is expected to captain the hosts from second five-eighth.
Magpies No 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu'u and substitute prop Pouri Rakete-Stones should have plenty of knowledge on the Mako pair of fullback Will Jordan and winger Tima Faingaanuku. They were all teammates in the world championship-winning New Zealand under-20 team in Georgia last year.
Teams for the 7.35pm match:
Hawke's Bay Magpies: JJ Taulagi, Jonah Lowe, Sasa Tofilau, Danny Toala, Michael Buckley, Stacey Ili, Brad Weber (captain), Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Devan Flanders, Josh Kaifa, Michael Allardice, Sam Ulufonua, Joe Apikotoa, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jason Long. Substitutes: Forwards, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Mark Braidwood, Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe, Tom Parsons, Geoff Cridge. Backs, Folau Fakatava, Lincoln McClutchie, Mason Emerson.
Tasman Mako (likely): Will Jordan, Tima Faingaanuku, Levi Aumua, David Havili (captain), Tomas Aoake, Mitchell Hunt, Jack Grooby, Taina Fox-Matamua, Jacob Norris, Ethan Blackadder, Quinten Strange, Pari Pari Parkinson, Tyrel Lomax, Andrew Makalio, Wyatt Crockett. Substitutes: Forwards, Ray Niuia, Ryan Coxon, Blair Prinsep, John Akauolo-Laula, Braden Stewart. Backs, Finlay Christie, Tim O'Malley, Leicester Faingaanuku.