Tasman favourite Taufua will be back in a Makos jersey for 2017 NPC season
Explosive loose forward Jordan Taufua is returning to the Tasman Makos after a four-year absence.
Taufua will be back in a Makos jersey for the first time since 2012 after re-signing with Tasman for the next two seasons.
Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis said that the 25-year-old, 1.89m-tall and 108kg loosie, who plays primarily at No 8 or No 6, signed last November after expressing a desire to return to the Top of the South. Taufua has been playing for Counties Manukau for the past three seasons.
"He approached us via the [Tasman] players and the coaches and then his manager contacted me," Lewis said.
According to Lewis, Taufua had always been reluctant to leave Tasman in the first place but circumstances conspired to end his initial involvement with the union.
"I don't think he ever probably wanted to go from the start, but he had a lot of different things in his life and his family was back in Auckland ... but this was just the perfect timing for him to come back.
"He could see that we were building a squad that was exciting and he wanted to be a part of it. I think it was a combination of a whole lot of things coming together."
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Lewis said that the union was "delighted" to have Taufua back in the fold.
"We're always delighted to have one of our favourite sons home and it gives us a loose forward [mix] of pretty impressive stature."
Taufua will join All Black Liam Squire, Shane Christie, Pete Samu, Shannon Frizell, Ethan Blackadder and Vernon Fredericks in a potent loose forward mix, with Braden Stewart and Tone Ng Shiu also both still in the frame.
"If you said to me, 'give me your perfect loose forward trio', I think we're not too far away from it."
Aptly nick-named Beast, Taufua was born in Auckland where he attended Sacred Heart College before moving to Christchurch to attend Lincoln University.
He played for Samoa Under-20s in 2011 before representing New Zealand at the IRB Junior World Cup in 2012.
Taufua began his first-class career in a Makos jersey after he was loaned to Tasman by Canterbury for the 2012 national provincial championship.
His bullocking running and equally aggressive defence quickly made him a favourite with Tasman's supporters, although his Tasman stint ended somewhat controversially when he was recalled to Canterbury for the NPC semifinals. He played 10 games for Tasman.
Canterbury retained him for their 2013 NPC campaign, when he also made his Super Rugby debut with the Crusaders, before heading back north to link up with Counties Manukau in 2014 where he's played ever since.
He's now a regular selection with the Crusaders, having played 50 games over four seasons.
In 2015, Taufua was part of a World XV team which lost 46-10 to South Africa in Cape Town, also playing for the Barbarians against South Africa in a 31-31 draw at Wembley Stadium in London last November.