His illustrious career boasts 77 games for the Bay Steamers, a Super Rugby title with the Crusaders and a test for the All Blacks — but it's his latest role that Mike Delany says may be his toughest.

The veteran first five has retired from playing the game and as previously hinted in the Bay of Plenty Times last year, the Rotorua born and raised athlete is about a month deep into his new assistant coaching role with the Bay of Plenty Steamers.

"I was still weighing up what I was doing, if I was playing and stuff like that

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