The Steamers Mitre 10 contingent

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian
www.sunlive.co.nz

Ask the participants in this season Mitre 10 Cup about their future rugby aspirations and the majority of replies are sure to be to play at a higher level in the game.

This seasons Mitre 10 contingent could look to two Steamers who, through sheer hard work and moving to where opportunities arose, wore the ultimate prize of a All Black jersey. 

Back in 2005, then new Mount Maunganui premier coach Sean Horan encouraged Rotorua born Mike Delany to return from the Waikato to play for the Mount in their pursuit of the Baywide premier crown. 

Delany slotted into the Green and Gold brigade back line like a glove, with the debutant coach and first five playing a huge part in Mount Maunganui annexing the Baywide premier big prize. 

The former Rotorua Boys' High School star immediately caught the eye of the Steamers selectors and made his debut in the blue and gold strip in 2005.

Such was the success of the Steamers pivot in the 2009 National Provincial Championship, that Mike was selected for All Blacks end of season tour, playing against Italy. 

Since earning the ultimate New Zealand rugby jersey Delany has plied his trade around the world.

First Japan, then playing for Clermont Auvergne in France led to his last overseas assignment at the Newcastle Falcons in England. 

At a age when most top-class players have hung up their boots, the long-serving first five has returned home to again pull on the Steamers strip in battle.

Mike has shown in his first two outings in the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup, that he retains his flair for the game. 

Last season goal kicking was Bay of Plenty's Achilles heel.

However, just a solitary miss in the Steamers opening two encounters suggest that Mike Delany is again the answer to the Steamers kicking woes. 

Employment as a Bay of Plenty Rugby Development Officer, started Kane Hames on a path that saw him come off the bench against Australia last Saturday, to earn his second All Black cap. 

The Tauranga Sports club prop, who answered a call to assist at an All Black training at Blake Park, couldn't have imagined where the SOS call would take him.

Such was the impression that Kane made at All Black training that he came onto the All Black radar. 

Twelve games for the Steamers led to a Maori All Black call-up and Super Rugby contracts with the Highlanders and the Chiefs.

Again being in the right place at the right time, resulted in Hames taking to the field off the bench in last season's Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington. 

Along with Delany and Hames, Sean Horan has had mercurial rise through the New Zealand rugby ranks.

Bay of Plenty Development and Steamers head coach appointments led to Sean taking charge of the New Zealand Sevens Women's side with spectacular success. 

On the Steamers front, it is back to the Rotorua International Stadium for their appointment with the Wellington Lions, on Thursday night. 

Go the Steamers.

 

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The moon peeping through the clouds at Pillans Point. Photo: Mike Berry.

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