It takes a certain type of person to play sport at the highest level. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi appears to be one of those people.

At the weekend the Rotorua-born All Blacks and Chiefs halfback used the Chiefs Super Rugby bye round to come home and play Baywide club rugby for Whakarewarewa.

He trained with the team during the week and started for them against Te Puna on Saturday. Rather than have a week off after a tough away trip to South Africa and Argentina, he chose to give back to grassroots rugby.

Whakarewarewa coach Boxer Smith said Tahuriorangi showed his class but also his modesty throughout the week. He did not come back to be a hero or show off, he was just eager to soak up the team environment and passion that is unique to club rugby.


That sort of humility is the measure of the man and is a key ingredient to making it to the top. The best players play for the love of the game, no matter what level they reach, and that ability to remember where they came from ensures they never take success for granted.

I'm not sure Tahuriorangi even realises the impact his gesture had on the Baywide rugby. It not only created a buzz among the Whakarewarewa players, but also their opposition Te Puna. What better way to test yourself than against one of the best in New Zealand?

I don't think it is any coincidence that Te Puna halfback Jordy Stone, the man playing directly opposite the All Black, was man of the match for his side. He went into that game facing a major challenge and he stepped up and faced it.

When Tahuriorangi was named to make his All Blacks debut off the bench against Argentina in September last year, I interviewed his grandfather John Merito who said: "In terms of his physique, Te Toiroa will always be the smallest fella on the field, that's including the referee, but he has the heart of a lion. He's humble like his parents, he's ferocious on the field but otherwise he likes to get along quietly, he's a quiet achiever."

Tahuriorangi may be below guys like TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith in the All Blacks set-up at present, but all signs suggest he is a young man with a big future.

Fantasy NRL watch

At the start of the NRL season I invited readers to take me on at Fantasy NRL and 17 of you took up the challenge.

After the first round I was sitting atop the ladder, however complacency set in and I have since dropped to sixth.


I have quickly been reminded of the frustrations of the game. Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards wasn't doing the job so I brought in Braidon Burns, of the Rabbitohs, who subsequently got injured that week. Not to worry though, I traded him out for a gun, Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic. He was on track for a monster Fantasy score against the Rabbitohs on Saturday when he blew his hamstring.

Sorry Newcastle Knights fans, but this week I've put the curse on Kalyn Ponga and traded him in.