Talented first five-eighth Ihaia West is back in 2017 and rearing to go. Since the last time we saw him in a Blues jersey, the Hawkes Bay native has represented his home province in the Mitre 10 Cup and been on tour with the New Zealand Maori.
We caught up with him ahead of our first home game of the season.
Tell us something not many people know about you
I played representative cricket for Central Districts growing up, before choosing to specialise in rugby during my last year of school.
What has been your career highlight to date?
Playing for the New Zealand Maori – I’m so proud every time I get to wear that black jersey. And also winning the Ranfurly Shield with Hawke’s Bay.
What’s your earliest rugby memory?
Bare feet, early morning, on the freezing grass at Anderson Park in Havelock North.
Who was your sporting idol when you were a kid?
Jared Cunningham, who’s from Havelock North as well, and also played for Hawke’s Bay and the Blues. He was the super star at our club, and was always helping out the young fullas. I always looked up to him.
Describe yourself in three words
Short but handsome.
What’s your favourite place in Auckland?
Mercury Plaza. The boys like to go there at least once a week.
Do you have any match day superstitions?
Not hard out, but, like, I always put on my left sock on before my right – it’s the same with my boots. Left is always first.
Who on the team will always make you laugh?
Rene Ranger, because he’s always a bit of a clown.
Finally, what’s your rugby priority in 2017?
We all want to achieve the same thing this year, and that’s to play finals footy. So my aim is to cement the number 10 jersey and just do whatever I’ve got to do to help us get there.
Photo by Photosport NZ