Taniela Ofa's sparkling new orange Adidas boots at last week's training session were an indication.
The Clive midfield back wanted to be seen when playing for Hawke's Bay at Saturday's Sevens tournament in Palmerston North. The 20-year-old Tongan who is completing his first year in the Bay after two years with the Auckland Marist club was more than visible.
"Taniela was outstanding ... both in the midfield and wing positions," Hawke's Bay coach and former All Black Sevens forward Tafai Ioasa said as he reflected on his team's three wins - 22-17 against Manawatu Green, 17-12 against Taranaki and 12-5 against Manawatu White.
"I enjoyed it. Hopefully I've done enough to make next month's Central Region tournament with Hawke's Bay so I can put my hand up at that tournament for the January nationals in Rotorua," Ofa said.
An orchard worker, Ofa had been to a couple of Sevens tournaments with Hastings Rugby and Sports and he said these prepared him well for Saturday's event.
Ioasa was thrilled with how his troops combined at Bill Brown Park.
"I've got a squad of 18 and I'm going to have a few headaches reducing it to 14 for the December 6 Central Region tournament back in Palmy. But they are good headaches to have."
He described the Manawatu Green victory as "a good first-up performance."
"Our forwards set the platform and opened things up for our speedsters out wide," Ioasa said.
Andrew Gardner, Joseph Penitito, Pouvi Fatialofa, Matt Hill and Ben Hamelink were tireless workers in the Bay engine room.
Hawke's Bay made a muddled start against Taranaki and trailed by two tries at halftime. Once they improved their agression at the contact area Ioasa's lads were able to bounce back.
Playing against the wind in the first half against Manawatu White Hawke's Bay conceded an early try. However the defensive systems Ioasa had drilled into his team last week functioned well for the remainder of the match.
"A pleasing aspect of the last game was the fact I was able to replace my first half seven with another seven and the intensity was still maintained."
A knee injury collected by Jesse Paewai was the only one on the day. Ioasa expects to name his team for the December 6 tournament next week.