This week's Hawke's Bay premier club rugby competition MVP winner Tyson Sau is a bloke prepared to go beyond the call of duty for his club.
At the age of 37 the Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical Old Boys loosehead prop hasn't got too many more years of premier play left in him. But after playing 80 minutes for the Texans reserve grade side in a 59-10 win against Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports on Saturday he played the first 60 minutes of his premier side's 19-16 victory against their Pirate counterparts at Tamatea Park in the opening round of the Tui Maddison Trophy competition.
Sau got the SOS call after Magpies props Mark Braidwood and Tim Farrell withdrew with injuries. To add to the enormity of the challenge Sau had to prop against Magpies tighthead Pouri Rakete-Stones.
His gutsy effort made Sau the logical choice for the 10th weekly winner in the tussle to become the 2019 holder of the McDonald's-Hawke's Bay Today Club Rugby Player of the Year award.
"I prefer to play reserve grade these days but will play for the prems if required. That's what the Tech club is all about. Saturday was my first outing for the prems this season," Sau recalled.
"I was a bit sore but I do a lot of biking which keeps me reasonably fit.
"It was one of the toughest premier games I had been involved in and one which could have gone either way."
A William Colenso College old boy who first played for Tech at colts level in 2001, Sau represented Hawke's Bay at open weights and secondary schools level in his younger days. Former All Black lock Bryn Evans, former Maori All Black loosie Colin Bourke and former Maori All Black inside back Callum Bruce were teammates of his back then.
"I've had some good times in rugby. But I know I've only got a few seasons left before I hang up the boots. I will still stay involved as a coach and I'm also keen to get into some refereeing."
The father-of-two has a seven-year-old son who is almost ready for rugby and Sau predicted he will provide him with his ticket to remain with the code.
A Pacific Health navigator for Totara Health in Hastings, Sau enjoys helping Pacific families get what they need from doctors.
"There are plenty of families from the Hastings Rugby and Sports and MAC clubs who give me plenty of banter about working in Hastings and not playing for either of their clubs. It's good fun," Sau said.
He also works as a relief teacher and often comes across teachers and students involved with other clubs so there is no shortage of workplace banter there either.
We couldn't leave Sau without quizzing him about the controversial penalty try awarded in Saturday's premier game. Both managers, Pirate's Charles Reid and Tech's Cyril Whitburn, were surprised it was awarded.
Sau disagreed with the pair.
"I was closer than them to the spot. Definitely a penalty try."
Best & Fairest
Tech v Pirate: 3, Tyson Sau (Tech); 2, Damien Scott (Pirate); 1, Pouri Rakete-Stones (Pirate).
Hastings v Havelock North: 3, Mason Emerson (Hastings); 2, Jayden Rihia (Hastings); 1, Albert Hemopo (Havelock North).
NOBM v MAC: 3, Zac Donaldson (NOBM); 2, Sean Skeet (NOBM); 1, Lewis Marshall (MAC).
Taradale v Clive: 3, Ian Rore (Taradale); 2, Eru Wano (Taradale); 1, Joseph Fuimaono (Clive).
Central v Tamatea: 3, Braydon Hardwidge (Central); 2, Lincoln McClutchie (Tamatea); 1, Ben Parsons (Central).
Leaderboard: 8pts: Sean Skeet (NOBM), Donovan Mataira (Clive). 7pts: Elijah Martin (Tech). 6pts: Iakopo Mapu, Humphrey Sheild (both Taradale), Pouri Rakete-Stones, Damien Scott (both Pirate). 5pts: Eru Wano, Jacob Baker, Jordan Kupa, Toby Single (all Taradale), Liam Edwards, Zac Donaldson, Matt Gardner (all NOBM), Jayden Rihia, Neria Fomai, Shamara Brooks (all Hastings), Jacob Stephenson (Havelock North), Lincoln McClutchie (Tamatea), Tom Iosefo (MAC).