At the end of the 2018 rugby season, Tanerau Latimer replaced his rugby boots for the Rangiuru coach’s notebook and pen.
Luckily, he didn’t throw his boots out because due to injury, he’s had to dust them off, lace them up and take on a dual role as player-coach.
‘’You know how it is, you get a few injuries and you get the bug and that bug just doesn’t go away, it stays with you.”
The former five test All Black is having his first season as coach for Rangiuru in the Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Rugby competition.
One of the issues the coach is currently facing is player management. Making sure he gives his players the right balance of game time as well as rest.
“At this point of the season, it’s all about player management now. I’ve got a handful of guys who have played about 80 minutes thus far.”
“We’re in the position where we can say to those guys; you’re getting 40 minutes this week and no more, because that’s probably where they can get their break. They won’t want it but it’s about taking that view away from the short-term focus and looking to the long-term focus.”
His side will travel to Puarenga Park this Saturday to take on a confident Whakarewarewa side. Whaka dominated Rotoiti last weekend coming away with a 55-7 victory.
Rangiuru had a narrow 31-28 win over Arataki, and Latimer has plenty of talent to choose from to continue their climb up the competition table, players like Isaac Te Aute, Simon Rolleston and Ngatai Kingi.
“We’ve got to front up against [Whaka]. Typical Whaka, they like to get stuck in. They’re a great challenge. There is no doubt my boys will get up for it.’’
In the other games of the round Te Puna host Rangataua at Maramatanga Park, Opotiki are at home against Tauranga Sports, Greerton Marist host Te Teko, Rotoiti travel to Murray Salt Stadium to take on competition leaders Te Puke and Arataki play Mount Maunganui at Arataki Park.
Development matches kick off at 1pm and Premier Matches at 2.45pm.
Click here for draws and kick off times for all matches.