Fatialofa to return from injury for shield semifinal
Stags lock Michael Fatialofa will restart his 2012 rugby season when he comes off the bench for Blues in their Galbraith Shield semifinal club game against the Eastern-Northern Barbarians on Saturday.
Fatialofa is a former New Zealand secondary schools representative from Auckland and when he signed for Rugby Southland in 2010 it was regarded a major coup for the province.
He made four appearances for the Stags last year, coming off the bench three times before getting a start against Bay of Plenty in the Stags' final game of the season.
He said that taste has him eager for more when the 2012 national provincial championship season rolls around.
His buildup has however been limited after he broke his wrist in round two of the club season in April.
He has spent the past three months on the sideline and will make a return this Saturday against the Eastern-Northern Barbarians, when he is expected to come off the bench in the second half.
"I've been on the sidelines for about 16 weeks now, I just want to get out there and play some footy," he told The Southland Times yesterday.
Fatialofa had a chance to make the national under-20 team this season, but his injury ruled him out of contention for the world championship in South Africa.
He has reassessed his goals and now, for him, it is about mounting a case for more game time for the Stags in 2012.
He also was wants to play a hand in helping the Blues to another Galbraith Shield title.
"There's heaps of old dudes in the team, I just really want to get them another title because it's been a while at Blues."
The 19-year-old said it had taken a while to adapt to the quieter lifestyle of Invercargill after moving south from the more populated area of Auckland. However, he had enjoyed studying at the Southern Institute of Technology and playing rugby in Southland.
"I actually really enjoy it, just how nice everyone is and how everyone gets behind the Stags. You don't get the same kind of feeling in Auckland, you don't get that sense of community."
Fatialofa will be one of five locks likely to be pushing for a place in the Stags with Josh Bekhuis, Hoani Macdonald, Alex Ryan and Ben Nally.
Fatialofa has also spent time playing in the loose forwards, although he said yesterday he viewed himself predominantly a lock, who can provide some cover in the loose forwards.
- © Fairfax NZ News