Tahu earns Deans' inside centre approval - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tahu earns Deans' inside centre approval

By Adrian Warren 22/06/2008 06:35:05 PM Comments (0)

League convert Timana Tahu nominated centre as his preferred position and earned the approval of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans after starring in Australia A's 90-7 Pacific Nations Cup rugby romp over Tonga at North Sydney Oval.

The dominant and well-skilled Australians ran in 14 tries against the hopelessly outclassed Tongans to take a two point lead over New Zealand Maori with two rounds of the six-team tournament remaining.

Tahu, who missed much of his first Super season with the Waratahs because of injury, revelled in his playmaking role at inside centre, scoring one try and playing a part in six more.

He threw the final pass for four first half tries and created havoc with his footwork, his ability to break tackles and his passing.

No.8 Stephen Hoiles crossed four times, with winger Digby Ioane, five-eighth Sam Norton-Knight and reserve back Drew Mitchell all crossing the Tongan stripe twice and backs Morgan Turinui, Lachlan Turner, Patrick Phibbs and Tahu once each.

Deans specifically requested Tahu, who played primarily on the wing and occasionally in the centres during his injury interrupted Super campaign, start at inside centre.

"That's clearly one position he can play for sure. (Australia A coach Phil Mooney) and I had a conversation and just thought it would be good for him to get as many involvements as possible," Deans said.

"He did well and there's obviously still a lot of scope for growth, but every time he plays he will be better for it."

Tahu said he didn't want to be a "crash and bash" style inside centre and that Deans had wanted him to use his footwork and ball skills.

"You get heaps of touches of the ball and there's heaps of work in it, I'm fitting pretty comfortably into 12," Tahu said.

"I've had the chance to play wing, 13 and 12 now, but I think it (inside centre) is a preferred position for me".

Mooney described Tahu's performance as outstanding, while Australia A captain and Wallabies centre Turinui felt 12 was the NSW star's best position at present.

"I think in the short term 12 is his position because it's still the learning phase and then once he thinks like a rugby player, you can play him anywhere," Turinui said.

Mitchell and flanker Hugh McMeniman each proved they had recovered from injury while prop Sekope Kepu impressed Mooney.

Mooney and Deans were both pleased with the A team's performance with the Wallabies coach saying there was no doubt some of the team would "get access" to the Test side later in the season.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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