Closeted away in the middle of Auckland, Rhema Sagote didn't know a thing about Heartland Championship rugby before his University coach, Jim Dickin, suggested he try out for the Wanganui side.

Wanganui coach Jason Caskey had been searching for a midfield back for a while and contacts built up by Wanganui people in last year's Divisional side suggested there was a young man playing for the club who needed some more play.

That young man is 22-year-old Sagote, a former Auckland U21 and Auckland B player who had not had a great season.

"My club season was a bit average," said Sagote this week. "I broke my thumb and missed seven weeks and missed the Auckland B squad. But my coach told me to come down here, and that it was a good opportunity for me.


"So I thought I might as well come down and see how it goes - and I like what I see and the boys are cool."

A bit different from Auckland though, and his Mt Roskill home.

"It's real quiet compared to Auckland, but I like the quiet. You don't have to rush to get to anywhere, a bit different to Mt Roskill, right in the centre of it."

Sagote, who turns 23 next week, played first XV rugby for Mt Roskill College and was then "scouted" to first division school Sacred Heart, where he again played first XV.

This year was his third season with Auckland University, with him repping in the Auckland U21s the first year and then Auckland B.

But he missed this year and here he is: "I didn't know anything about the Heartland competition, but when I talked to other people they said it was a good one."

Sagote is working hard on his fitness conditioning, runs powerfully and looks a useful asset. He may turn out even better than that.