Ukuma Ta'ai

It took him a while to get everything finalised, after there were significant delays in getting his visa sorted – but with that out of the way, former New Zealand Warriors forward Ukuma Ta’ai, says he is looking forward to playing for Huddersfield over the next few seasons.

Arriving in England on Tuesday and training with his new team-mates for the first time on Wednesday, Ta’ai made one thing clear – “he can’t wait to play with the boys”, as he gets used to what English rugby league is all about.

“I’m so excited that I am finally here with my family and I can’t wait to play with the boys,” said Ta’ai.

“I’m relieved I am here at the club and training and all the boys have come and welcomed me with open arms.”

With the process taking longer than both club and player had anticipated, Ta’ai was forced to do some of his own training whilst in visa limbo, and admits that because of that, he will have to work extra hard to get up to speed with the fitness levels of his team-mates.

“Training was hard by myself, but I was training with Monty Betham because boxing is a good form of training which I love.

“But I feel I am a little bit behind because the boys have all trained hard in pre-season, so I need to make sure I work very hard to get up to their level.

“I have to accept it because that is what happened, but in my mind I am so excited.”

Ta’ai got stuck into things, catching highlights of the Giants clash with St Helens, and believes that his style of play suits that of the Giants, as he looks forward to showing the English rugby league world what he can do.

“I have seen the highlights from the Saints game. It was a good start by the boys and I think it is a good sign for the club.

“It is perfect for me, because I like to play hard and physical. People don’t really know me because I have come from another country, so hopefully I can shock a few people.

“I like to get onto the field and get to know every player. I know some of them in the Super League, they are really good. I respect them off the field, but on the field it is game time.

“When I play for this club for the first time, I hope to be really tough and physical because we have big guys in our team. But I have to train hard to make sure I’m up to their level first.”

In a foreign place, acclimatising is never easy, but for Ta’ai, he does have one person already in his corner and that is former North Queensland Cowboys utility, David Faiumu, someone Ta’ai regards as a ‘god-father’ to him.

“I have never played with Dave Faiumu, but I talk to him regularly. He is like a god father to me and I am lucky because I came here and he is still here.

“The only thing that is really new for me is the conditions. The weather is cold and I have never seen snow before. I got here yesterday and there was snow all over which was amazing to see.”

By ricky

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