Versatile Harlequin stars in range of positions
Harlequins utility back Paula Fifita could play a key role if his side are to progress to the Hamersley Cup grand final.
The 21-year-old has been a revelation this season, with his cool head and ability to find a gap or break a tackle.
Born in Tonga, Fifita spent two years with Auckland's Marist Rugby Club colts, before travelling south for work, in a deal brokered by Harlequins coach Colin Cameron.
Fifita has played every backline role except halfback for Harlequins this season as his side have been hit by injuries. He is also a handy goal-kicker.
He tips the scales at 95kg and enjoys running with the ball, which can make things awkward for opposition defence.
Fifita said he is really enjoying his second season with Harlequins and, work permitting, hopes to have a crack at the Heartland representative team.
Cameron has been impressed with Fifita's development and agrees he is key in their side.
"He reads the game really well and while it would be good to play him in one position, with our injuries that has not been possible."
Fifita seems likely to start at fullback against the Rams as Cameron has all his key players back and needs to find a spot for them all.
Converted No 8 Sam Vea will start at second five-eighth.
Fifita's favourite position is centre but he has seen most of his action at second five-eighth as another Auckland convert, Hau Kaumatule, has held the No 13 jersey.
The 24-year-old Kaumatule does not, however, have a rugby background, unlike Fifita, who started playing when he was five.
Work also attracted Kaumatule south but he is a league convert, having played for the Mt Albert Lions.
The pair have made an excellent midfield combination but it has seldom lasted long, with Fifita being called to regularly cover first five-eighth and fullback.
Kaumatule said he is enjoying the change but admits he is still getting used to rucks and mauls.
He is, however, enjoying the style of rugby Harlequins have played this season in getting the ball wide.
The Timaru Herald