I'm over rugby league, says Tahu - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I'm over rugby league, says Tahu

By Jim Morton 27/06/2008 06:05:35 PM Comments (0)

Red-hot Timana Tahu has revealed he was keen to play rugby union four years ago and says he has no regrets about swapping codes.

"I'm over rugby league," said Tahu as he prepared for Australia A's clash with Fiji on Sunday at Ballymore.

The former Kangaroos star last year labelled rugby "boring" in a deliberate move to deflect attention away from his controversial code switch.

But the ex-Newcastle and Parramatta back confessed that rugby was at the forefront of his thoughts as far back as 2004 when he was a regular member of Australian and NSW league teams.

Even as State of Origin fever grips NSW and Queensland, Tahu denied he felt any pangs of doubt about his conversion.

"As soon as I got the chance to talk to Ewen (McKenzie) and the Waratahs, the first thing on my mind was to get out of rugby league," Tahu said.

"I achieved a lot of things in rugby league, which I was grateful for doing, but for the last three years, four years it was rugby union and I wanted to come over and there were no regrets."

Asked to clarify, the 27-year-old indicated he was keen to follow the lead of dual internationals Lote Tuqiri, Wendell Sailor and Mat Rogers and challenge himself in the 15-man code.

Tuqiri, Sailor and Rogers all made Wallabies teams in their first season after leaving league to boost their profiles and Tahu could also see the immense benefits of a successful conversion.

"It's not a league v union thing," he said, admitting watching Origin still gave him chills.

"I was achieving what I wanted to achieve in rugby league and I was looking for greater challenges and I saw other opportunities in rugby union."

Tahu's Super 14 season was ruined by a hamstring injury but he's making up for lost time playing inside centre for Australia A in the Pacific Nations Cup.

The convert carved up Tonga in last Sunday's 90-7 rout at North Sydney Oval but he expects to receive a far better test of his development in the coming nine days against Fiji and NZ Maori.

"For the first 20 minutes against Tonga, it was a little bit tough but they just dropped off and they played terrible," he said.

"If you play good against a side that you flog about 90-nil, it doesn't really mean much.

"This will be the test for me - Fiji and the Maori game - to see how I'm going. This Sunday will be a lot tougher and the scores will be a lot closer."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans sees the 2001 Newcastle NRL premiership winger as a potential Test No.12 and Tahu is setting his sights in the position as he feels his game is becoming more instinctive after three A matches.

"The things I was doing were more structured, now I just go out and play football," he said.

"I feel better at 12. I'm not a bloke who can finish tries like I used to when I was younger.

"I think it's more trying to create holes for the fast wingers and them finishing it off."

An Australian victory over third-placed Fiji at Ballymore would set up a virtual final in the last-round PNC clash with the Maori in Sydney on Sunday week.

Wallabies call-up Ben Alexander is set to back-up and play for the A team off the bench if he sees little game time as a reserve in the Test against France on Saturday night.

Fellow Brumbies prop Salesi Maafu is on standby for Alexander with Guy Shepherdson starting at tighthead and Sekope Kepu at loosehead.

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