'We'll see what happens': Barnstorming Leicester flanker Jordan Taufua hints at international future with Pacific nation
The 27-year-old recently departed New Zealand for England to take up a contract with the Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership in a move which virtually eliminated any hope of representing the All Blacks in the test arena.
Taufua has previously been involved in the All Blacks set-up after he was named in Steve Hansen’s squad for the 2018 June series against France as an injury replacement for captain and former Crusaders teammate Kieran Read.
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However, a torn calf sustained in a training run ruled Taufua out of action for the test series against Les Bleus.
His services weren’t called upon again by Hansen, and the former Crusaders star, who played a key role in the franchise’s hat-trick of Super Rugby titles over the past three seasons, left for the United Kingdom last year as an uncapped prospect.
That hasn’t prevented Taufua from pursuing international ambitions, though, as he still harbours aspirations to represent his parents’ nation of heritage.
“I am still eligible for Samoa so we’ll see what happens,” Taufua, who has represented both New Zealand and Samoa at U20 level, told the Rugby Paper.
“I’m just concentrating on giving my all for Leicester. It would be amazing to win championships in both hemispheres, but first, it’s all about smaller steps.”
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Between now and a potential Samoa call-up, Taufua has his work cut out for him in England’s premier domestic competition, as Leicester currently sit in second-last place with two wins from eight outings.
The only side the Tigers are leading is last-placed Saracens, whose 35-point reduction as a result of their salary cap breach leaves them 18 points off the pace.
With six wins inside the first eight rounds, though, there remains plenty of time for the reigning English and European champions to usurp Leicester at the bottom of the table.
Leicester’s next opportunity to elevate themselves out of the relegation battle will come in a fortnight’s time, when they travel to the Recreation Ground to face sixth-placed Bath.
Before then, though, the Tigers will look to complete an undefeated run through the European Challenge Cup pool stages when they face Cardiff at home on Sunday, before travelling to France to take on Pau a week later.
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