Australia A suits Timana to a T - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia A suits Timana to a T

By Jim Morton 20/06/2008 03:37:16 PM Comments (0)

Playing for Australia A and kicking puddles in Samoa might seem worlds away from what many expected from Timana Tahu in his maiden rugby season.

But the former Test and Parramatta league winger is savouring his union apprenticeship at inside centre in the Pacific Nations Cup after thinking he'd be dumped to the club ranks.

Following an injury-wrecked Super 14 with the NSW Waratahs, Tahu has enjoyed two 80-minute efforts for Australia A and is looking forward to another in the thick of the action at No.12 against Tonga on Sunday.

The high-profile convert denied he expected to play Test rugby in his debut season and was grateful for the chance to learn his trade in the five-week second-tier tournament.

"I just want to stay on the field and play as many games as I can for Australia A, if opportunities come up with the Wallabies that will be a bonus for me," he said.

"I wasn't expecting to make rep teams this year.

"Through injury and plus limited game time in the Super 14 I thought I would be going back to the local league. So for me to come to Australia A I was excited."

Now over his much-publicised hamstring problems, Tahu has played inside centre and wing for Phil Mooney's unbeaten A team which he helped get out of jail against Samoa on Sunday with a match-winning intercept try.

He joked it was one of the few things he had to do in the 20-15 victory on the Apia mudheap.

"The forwards slugged it out and I was just kicking puddles on the sideline, it was pretty easy for me," said Tahu, who will be watched by Test coach Robbie Deans at North Sydney Oval.

Coach Mooney has been impressed by Tahu's willingness to learn and get involved while the code-crosser has enjoyed the more laidback approach.

"The coaching staff is good, it's a lot more relaxed than Super 14," he said. "I'm not worried about what happens in the future it's just getting more game time on the field.

"My ball skills and passing skills are getting better and my kicking skills and just my knowledge of the game is getting better with more time on the field."

Tonga won't be under-estimated by the Australians after pushing New Zealand Maori to the death in the opening round before losing 20-9.

The A's have been bolstered by the inclusion of seven Wallabies squad members as well as World Cup players Drew Mitchell and Hugh McMeniman.

Mitchell will make his return from injury with 40 minutes at fullback while McMeniman will start at blind-side flanker in a high-calibre pack.

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