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Angus Ta'avao: The Journey Home to the Blues

Angus Ta'avao: The Journey Home to the Blues

All BlacksFebruary 22, 2024

Prop Angus Ta'avao has worked his way around rugby's circle and is back with his home-town Blues with another performance milestone awaiting when he plays his first DHL Super Rugby Pacific game of the season.

The Blues are opening their campaign against Fijian Drua in Whangārei on Saturday, and, if selected, Ta'avao, 33, will achieve a half-century of games for the side, 12 years after making his debut for them.

At that same time, Ta'avao relishes the prospect of an entire season after missing all of last year's Super Rugby due to a neck injury. He had rushed into the NPC last year but was happy to get through that before embarking on a complete pre-season preparation to get back to full fitness.

"After that game on Saturday, I feel like I still have a lot of work to do. But it's been nice and refreshing having fun in here with the team."

At the same time, he felt sorry for fellow All Black Will Jordan who will miss this year's Super Rugby season.

"To see him miss out after what he's been doing for the Crusaders over the last few years and the impact he has had...But knowing him, you know he's a resilient man. He's got a lot of things outside rugby. I know he'll bounce back."

Ta'avao said being an Auckland boy, the Blues were the team he aspired to.

Ta'avao's rugby journey has been more peripatetic than most, with a 22-game stint with the Waratahs in 2016-17 and 62 games for the Chiefs from 2018-23 while also having 49 NPC games for Auckland and 34 for Taranaki.

The Power of the Pacific returns Friday, 23 February 🌊

🎟️ Secure your 2024 tickets: https://t.co/jsp6B9Ocse pic.twitter.com/aLqMwr0xfL

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) February 13, 2024

"The positive from that is you're in different environments. You can take little things from there. You can bring a bit of experience and help some of the young blokes coming through."

Ta'avao said there was still frustration that the Blues have found winning consistency without yet having wrapped up a complete Super Rugby title in recent years.

But the talent was in the side, and young players were coming through, and he loved being back in the side and Auckland with his family and his rugby family.

"There's smiles, but there's also hard work, and that balance is as crucial as we've been trying to nail."

Ta'avao said new coach Vern Cotter knew what he wanted from the side.

"That's the beauty about him; he doesn't tiptoe around things. He's honest. He'll let you know what he's thinking. But also, he's not the sort of guy where you feel like you can't go up, have a bit of a joke, and have a conversation.

"Vern's very much an open book, and he's passionate. I didn't know this, but he's from Devonport, and he's an Auckland boy, and he's passionate about the Blues winning this competition, and when you feel that passion, and where he's from and he brings, it just carries you along."

Open training this Friday in Whangārei 🚨🚨🚨

If you’re around, we’d love for you to come down and meet the fellas!

Free BBQ provided by our mates at Barfoot & Thompson 🍗🥓 pic.twitter.com/d9qCwmWxVa

— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) February 20, 2024

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