After a one-year stint with the Blues, Latimer left New Zealand in 2016 and spent two years with French second division club Bayonne.
Latimer made his debut for the Bay of Plenty Steamers in 2004 and was selected for the All Blacks Sevens side as a 17-year-old while still at Tauranga Boys’ College. He made his Super Rugby debut with the Crusaders in 2006 before moving north to join the Chiefs in 2007, who he represented 108 times. He played for the All Blacks six times, making his debut in 2009.
Just shy of 80 caps for Bay of Plenty, the 32-year-old will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to this year’s Mitre 10 Cup squad.
Latimer said returning home was an easy decision for him and his young family.
“I think home is always a big pulling force here. We have been overseas for four years and we weren’t looking to stay too much longer. We came back in the off season and watching our boys they loved it that much that they didn’t want to go back, so that made the decision really,” Latimer said in a Bay of Plenty release.
“I have been training for six weeks now; I have loved it and enjoyed it. It has gone back to where it all started. Up at 5.00am to come in for a gym session, then off to work and back again to training in the evening. It has been a great experience and it has been very enjoyable and looking forward to season ahead.”
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer said, “Tanerau brings a huge amount of experience and professionalism back into our environment. Based on our conversations I know he is hugely motivated about helping us continue to grow our environment and our young players especially are going to benefit from having Lats around.”
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union’s Director of Rugby and Steamers Head Coach Clayton McMillan said, “It is fantastic to be able to bring a player of Tanerau’s stature in the game back to Bay of Plenty. With the player age becoming younger and younger across all levels of the game, players with proven leadership and experience become a valued commodity. I have no doubt Tanerau will add considerable value to the team through his own performance, driving high standards both on and off the field, and helping us develop good young men.”
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