Exciting young halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has already ticked off one of the his goals for the year.
Before the season started, Tahuriorangi set down some targets, the first of which was to make the New Zealand Under-20 side and win the world rugby championship.
Both of those were achieved on Sunday when New Zealand defeated England 21-16 in the final in Italy.
Now the New Plymouth Old Boys No 9 has his sights set on winning the premier club title and making the Taranaki ITM Cup squad.
That’s after he finally gets over the jet lag that has dogged him since he, along with fellow Taranaki player Sean Wainui and trainer Iain Cleland, arrived back in New Plymouth on Tuesday night after the best part of two days travelling.
“It’s been hard to know what day it is,” he said.
Reflecting on what was a pretty hectic last month, Tahuriorangi said the New Zealand squad had achieved everything they set out to do.
“We went into the tournament with the attitude of having one shot with one bullet, meaning we only had one opportunity to win it. That was our mindset and everything just clicked.”
Tahuriorangi, 20, was the clear first choice halfback in the squad and he repaid the faith coach Scott Robertson put in him with a number of mature yet exciting performances.
He was full of praise for the effort the front eight put in, saying they made his role one of the easiest in the team.
“Everyone seemed to bring that mentality that they would die for the jersey and I thought that really showed. That gave me a lot of confidence just to do my own thing.”
Nevertheless, he was still surprised at the ferocity England brought to the final when New Zealand had to soak up a lot of early pressure.
“They definitely looked like they wanted it more than us in the first 10 or 20 minutes but the boys soaked all that in and showed just how much we really, really wanted it.”
Despite the euphoria of the victory, Tahuriorangi insists he would be staying grounded as he chased his next immediate goals.
He was also thankful for the support he received, especially within Taranaki.
“I want to give a bit back now. Things started for me at the Taranaki [Rugby] academy with the great management and staff there who sat down with me and mapped out what I wanted to achieve, so I’ve got to give credit to them and the whole Taranaki union.”
His appreciation was obvious and sincere, so much so he planned on donating his New Zealand jersey to the academy.
“Now it’s over I want to really make that ITM Cup squad and win the title with Old Boys because we came up short last year losing in the semifinal. It would be massive making the [Taranaki] squad and coming under the expertise of Colin Cooper.