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TJ Perenara makes a highly anticipated comeback from a broken leg against the Blues tonight. The Hurricanes halfback shares his excitement with Sam Worthington
What can you tell me about the new Hurricanes? Have any characters or stories emerged?
A few of them I actually played a lot of rugby with growing up, the likes of Ope [Peleseuma], Matt Proctor and Ardie [Savea] as well. So having them around has been pretty cool, reminiscing on old times. That's been a cool little buzz for me. But Rey Lee-Lo is a good mate of mine now. I only met him this year but he's a real character. We're sitting next to each other in the locker room so there's plenty of banter.
Are you showing the out of towners around Wellington? What to do and what not to do?
More what to do, I try to stick away from what not to do at this time of the year [laughs]. There will be a time and place for that.
It sounds like Ben Franks' weight sessions are already becoming legendary?
Yeah, he's the ultimate professional, a good leader and a good role model for the young boys. I've taken a lot of little things from him already, preparation for each day and training methods. Having him in the environment has brought everyone's standards up. You had plenty of time to contemplate life last year after breaking your leg. What did you discover?
The biggest thing I learnt being injured is that rugby isn't everything, it's not the be-all and end-all. I'm a lot happier outside of rugby now than I was beforehand. Rugby was so dominant in my life and I thought if rugby wasn't going well, life in general wasn't going well. I found things outside of rugby, my studies, radio especially is something I enjoy. I put a lot more time into my family, I've got two new nieces. Being injured was bad and I wasn't happy for a while but I learnt so much.
So you want to be a radio man after rugby?
Yeah, I really do enjoy it. I haven't done a whole lot but what I have done I've enjoyed.
Have you got your radio voice down?
Not yet. I try to talk to a few of the boys like Jay Reeves [ZM radio DJ] and stuff like that, see if I can get a few hints on what to do.
You're one of many snapback cap wearers in the team. What is the secret on how to pull off the look?
For me, definitely don't wear it backwards, I'm not big on wearing them backwards. I'm probably not the styliest dude in the team anyway but keeping it forward and old-school is the way I like to wear it.
Cory Jane's injury is obviously a massive blow but will he be helpful off the field?
Yeah, he's already helping Matt Proctor a lot. The head he's got on him, he's a smart footy player and he knows his way around the pitch. Having his brain is important for us even though we can't have him physically.
There has been a lot of talk about supplements in sport recently and Ben Franks has spoken about what he takes. Are you a supplement user?
Definitely, your proteins and stuff like that, your fish oils, creatine. I think there is a need for it in rugby and it would be awesome if we could come up with a system in rugby where we could have things tested. If Drug Free Sport New Zealand could make protein and stuff for us, that is cleared, that would be awesome. It would make our life so much easier.
What will you do before the game?
I usually chill out a little bit on game day, sleep in, and this year we've put a lot of emphasis on our eating. But I spend a lot of time with my family, I might go for a coffee with my girlfriend or my old lady. Try not to play the game in your head before it's played.
So what is your pre-match feed?
I usually have mashed potatoes, baked beans, poached eggs and chicken.
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