Dad still has it after 20 years
Tama Tautari didn't expect his first rugby league game for more than 20 years would be against a team that included his sons Tawera and Ezromm.
The draw for last weekend's first round of the Southland Rugby League club competition changed on the day when one of the six teams pulled out and another were short of players.
Tama Tautari's team, Cowboys, were at full strength but their opposition, City-Invercargill, had to bring in players from the He Tauaa and Bluff teams.
Bluff defaulted to He Tauaa and withdrew from the competition. Tautari's sons, Tawera, 19, and Ezromm, 16, were among the He Tauaa players who took to the field for City-Invercargill.
Cowboys won and Tama Tautari came off feeling chuffed.
"It brought back a lot of memories, seeing a few old faces again. It was great," Tautari, 46, said.
"I got a few bruises on a leg, but it's nothing."
Tautari shifted from Rotorua to Invercargill five months ago.
"Thirty years ago I played for the Waikiwi Warriors and I was selected for the training squad of the New Zealand Junior Kiwis [in the 1980s]."
Tautari and five other Cowboys players work nightshift at South Pacific Meats, Awarua, and are unable to attend league training.
"I run daily, normally for about 40 minutes," Tautari said.
When in Rotorua he was in a Bay Of Plenty touch team.
Injury forced him to relinquish his place in a New Zealand Touch team to travel to Japan in the early 2000s.
The main game on Sunday was between Cooks and Winton Warlords, with Cooks prevailing 40-18.
- The Southland Times