Ta’ai relishing Giants challenge
7th February 2013
Huddersfield Giants’ new signing Ukuma Ta’ai has been taken under the wing of his “godfather” David Faiumu as he attempts to get up to speed with his new team-mates.
The New Zealand international missed the start of the Super League season after being delayed by red tape, but maintained his fitness by training with rugby league player-turned boxer Monty Betham, the former Wakefield Trinity Wildcats forward, as he waited for his visa.
The 25-year-old Tonga-born back-row forward, who moved to New Zealand only five years ago, saw snow for the first time after arriving in England this week.
Another New Zealander, Huddersfield utility forward Faiumu, is helping Ta’ai settle in his new home and the Pacific Islander is raring to go after training with the club for the first time.
“I’m so excited that I am finally here with my family and I can’t wait to play with the boys,” he told the club website www.giantsrl.com.
“Training was hard by myself but I was training with Monty Betham because boxing is a good form of training which I love.
“But I am a little bit behind because the boys have all trained hard in pre-season so I need to make sure I work very hard to get up to their level.
“I have never played with Dave Faiumu but I talk to him regularly. He is like a godfather to me and I am lucky because I came here and he is still here.
“The only thing that is really new for me is the conditions. The weather is cold and I have never seen snow before. I got here yesterday and there was snow all over which was amazing to see.”
Ta’ai may have to wait to make his debut, with coach Paul Anderson set to stick with the team that pulled off a stunning 40-4 victory over Saints for Sunday’s home game against London Broncos, but he is confident of being able to make an impact in Super League.
“I have seen the highlights from the Saints game,” said Ta’ai, who has joined Huddersfield on a three-year contract from New Zealand Warriors.
“It was a good start by the boys and I think it is a good sign for the club. It is perfect for me because I like to play hard and physical.
“People don’t really know me because I have come from another country so hopefully I can shock a few people.”