Signing success for Tufuga
Newly signed Manawatu Turbos No 8 Kirk Tufuga has proven hard work really does pay off.
The 29-year-old loose forward joined Varsity while studying at Massey University in 2010 and he has been patiently waiting to make his Manawatu Turbos debut ever since.
After years of regular preseason game time and countless appearances for the Manawatu Development XV, Tufuga’s Turbos dream looked to be over after he opted to turn to hometown Heartland Championship side Wairarapa Bush last year.
It was not until injuries to Turbos No 8s Brayden Iose and Tyler Laubscher that an opportunity finally presented itself for Tufuga, 10 years after he first arrived in the province.
Tufuga, who is now considered a loan player for the Turbos having transferred to Eketahuna this year, was confident in the work he had put in to prepare himself for the step up to Mitre 10 Cup.
He started the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Hawkes Bay, but it was not until the day after the match when the feeling of achievement and realisation kicked in.
He said he didn’t overthink it because there wasn’t time to.
“I just got in there and did what I trained for… now that it has been a couple of weeks, I know the team, I know the plays and I feel comfortable with where I am.”
Originally from Masterton, Tufuga comes from a family of rugby players with three of his brothers, Max, Sam and Ueta, playing alongside him in club rugby for Varsity. The quartet also all played for Wairarapa Bush last year.
Tufuga originally studied to be a school physical education teacher, but he has temporarily set that aside to work as a fulltime student advisor at Massey University.
On top of working and caring for his family, he spent the last 10 years toiling with a hefty training schedule. While many would give up on this difficult schedule, Tufuga continued.
“I realised that I still have a few more years in me, so I should just keep trying,” he said.
Tufuga played his second match against Southland and will have another opportunity to show the fans just why he was chosen.
He said he was grateful for this chance to play in the Mitre 10 Cup and has another couple of years to give, whether it be to the Turbos or to club rugby, he’ll just keep going.