I think the rest is history and Tak turned out to be truly awesome and much feared by opposing sides. His 150% commitment to the cause saw him endure some horrendous injuries with numerous bangs to the head and he missed a number of games though concussion. Following an injury at Old Laurentians he called a halt to his season but bravely returned for the Warwickshire Cup Final (his appearance as a second half sub promptly resulting in the introduction of Mick Curtis into the Broadstreet ranks) and then the play off at Peterborough where he played the second half with a patch over his eye following an injury. The eye patch did not stop him weaving his way through their ranks for a try.
He was a bit of a showman, but who could blame him. His 'swallow-dive' try at Barkers Butts (so magnificently caught by the photographer) was great if you were Kenilworth but not if you were Barker Butts, and this was typical of the man. He was also much admired by other clubs, notably Coventry and Nottingham.
He never ceased to amaze people by his observations on life and rugby. When watching his beloved All Blacks play Wales in the clubhouse he remarked, much to the amazement of all around him in the club, "that guy Dan Carter had improved since the last time I played with him". When watching Italy nearly beat England in the Six Nations he said that he had taken over at his club from the guy with the funny hair who was the Italian scrum half. When asked if he was related to the great former All Black Captain, Tane Norton he said oh yes, he is my uncle. He also pointed out that his coach back home was the former Wales Fitness Coach, Andrew Hoare. The stories go on. He held a full bar in Italy in awe with his version of the Haka during the recent sevens tournament our guys entered and he has performed it on a number of occasions in the clubhouse.
He enjoyed his nights out with the lads, even joining in on occasions and I think it is safe to say he left Kenilworth with a larger girth than when he arrived. He did show some amazing restraint on occasions, notably his leaving BBQ when no alcohol past his lips all day. One night he let his hair down (sorry, it was let down for him I think) was the Club Dinner, where he was on a table with Dom Carrick, Reg Varney et al. Rounds of drinks were brought to the table consisting of seven waters and one vodka and guess who had the vodka. As Dom started to feel sorry for Tak he asked him to go to the bar for seven waters and one vodka and when Tak came back with his round he was told to hand them out – "who is the vodka for?" the innocent Tak asked".
In all Tak played twenty three games for Kenilworth first XV scoring nineteen tries and in the league he trailed his buddy Andy Whitehall by one in the race to be the top league try scorer. He was a breath of fresh air and here is hoping we will see him again. If anyone knows of someone who can get him a job with pigeons then let me know and he may come back, his personal taxi driver is missing him.
Since the publication of this article Tak has been called into the Canterbury squad for the ITM cup – the level below Super 15 rugby in 10/11 and 11/12 season.
W J Whitesmith