Ben May feels confident now he can prop both sides of the Waikato scrum at the drop of a hat.
And that new-found confidence and the extra experience gained from a Super Rugby campaign with the Hurricanes will be vital as Waikato look to make amends in Auckland today for last week's ITM Cup loss to Northland.
May left the Chiefs last year and signed with the Hurricanes in search of more game time at tighthead prop, having made seven starts at loosehead in a 2011 season interrupted by injury.
But after mixing his five starts behind skipper Nathan White and young loosehead Toby Smith between the two sides of the scrum for Waikato in last year's national provincial premiership he went on to also play both sides for the Hurricanes.
"In hindsight it's been a bit of a blessing in disguise, because I've developed both sides better than I would have just playing one, so it's probably worked out to be another notch in the armour," May, 29, said.
"I've played a lot of loosehead and now I can just go there at the drop of a hat and with regular time at tighthead I've probably now nailed both.
"It's bloody hard to nail both roles because they're completely different, so I guess I've managed to do that now.
"I've got no worries about switching during games as I've had to do a lot of it in the past 12 months and it's going good, touch wood."
With White having gone to European champions Leinster late last year, May starts his third game in a row for Waikato at tighthead against Auckland this afternoon with Smith at loosehead and Ted Tauroa on the bench.
May is eagerly anticipating a "huge battle of the Bombays" today at the start of a demanding eight-day schedule that will see Waikato play a home game against Bay of Plenty in Hamilton on Tuesday night and then travel to Wellington to play the following Saturday.
"A lot of these young fellas haven't had the opportunity to have a crack at Auckland so we've been trying to instill in them what goes on up there.
"We're looking for a smash and grab really - head up to Auckland on the bus on Saturday and get stuck into our work.
"We know it will go the full 80 as it has done the last four times we've played them here or there so we'll go up there and hook into it and worry about Tuesday when it rolls around and obviously down to Wellington the following week.
"It's going to be a big week and we've talked about it, just with our recovery and things like that, so we've really got to nail the work this week and take it into Saturday."
May said the loss to Northland last Saturday could be looked at in two ways.
"One way it was good was we sort of cruised through that North Harbour game and came out with a good win but last weekend we didn't stick to our plan or our structures and it cost us."
May is happy with Waikato's scrummaging so far and also the lineout, apart from the inability to defend a lineout drive that produced Northland's winning try in the dying minutes last weekend.
"It's quite embarrassing for a tight forward, that, so we've worked bloody hard this week around our set piece," he said.
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