Trent Renata can't believe how fast his half-century of games for Waikato have come around.
At the tender age of 24 the goal-kicking Waikato fullback, who has also played a lot at first five-eighth, will be halfway to the magic century mark if he gets named today to play his 50th match against Canterbury at Waikato Stadium on Sunday.
He follows winger Tim Mikkelson, with whom he made his Waikato debut in 2008 and who brought up his 50 last weekend against Wellington. Jackson Willison is poised to follow them in the next game.
"It's a massive milestone and it's sort of come around pretty fast," Renata said.
"I had a look a wee while ago and knew it was coming up but with the short turnarounds [in this year's ITM Cup] it seems to have come around even faster."
Renata, a Hamilton Boys' High School old boy who spent from 2005-2008 playing for New Zealand schools, under-19 and under-20, has represented Waikato at all levels since Roller Mills level at intermediate school.
He can't wait to run out onto the field on Sunday and earn the 50th cap, but even more important to him is getting a win against Canterbury and getting Waikato back up the premiership points table.
"We look at ourselves and see we're fifth, but we're not out of it, we're halfway through the season and with the short turnarounds anything can happen.
"We're through what you could call the hardest period . . . and with the long break we've had [this week] we're going to go into Sunday refreshed.
"It was a good time to recuperate and get the boys fresh and ready for Canterbury, who the boys and the union always get up for.
"We really look forward to these games and testing ourselves against one of the best provinces going round."
Renata said the Waikato players could not be faulted for their efforts in recent weeks, but skill execution had let them down and the backs were determined to do better.
"We said at the start of the season we wanted to score a set-piece try and we haven't done it yet, but 2.30 Sunday afternoon falls right into that running rugby.
"We want to get the ball into the hands of the likes of Save [Tokula] running into holes and running hard into the defence and really hit them hard," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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