‘It is going to feel weird’

Liam Coltman. Photo: Getty Images
Liam Coltman. Photo: Getty Images
He arrived in the South 14 years ago, hoping to get a physical education degree. He ended up not getting it, but he got plenty of life lessons.

Liam Coltman (32) will play his last home game for the Highlanders tomorrow as he winds up his career in New Zealand, having signed a two-year deal with French club Lyon.

It is a natural move for Coltman, who hails from New Plymouth and who first played for Otago in 2010 and three years later for the Highlanders.

The hooker admitted there was a lot of hard thinking before he decided to head away.

"It has been a big part of my life. It is going to feel weird running out on to the field for the last time. It was a hard decision to make," he said.

"I have spent most of my life here. My wife comes from here. My kids were born here. Now I am packing up everything and going to the other side of the world.

"Otago has been a big part of our lives. But it is exciting to go somewhere else. Exciting to find something new."

Coltman said he would miss all his mates in the team, the fun they all had, the closeness of the team and all the support they got.

"It was always fun to go to work. Enjoyed every day."

He leaves for France in July with wife Aleisha and daughters Tilly (4) and Ruby (3). He will link up with former Highlander Kendrick Lynn, who is taking over as coach at Lyon next season.

Coltman actually started out as a tighthead prop but changed to hooker in 2010 when he made the NZ colts. He never looked back, and though there were questions over his throwing, that is not uncommon for hookers these days.

There were plenty of highlights — winning the Super Rugby title in 2015 and beating the British and Irish Lions in 2017, playing against Irish captain Rory Best.

A three-week trip to Australia just completed was a welcome addition for the side and he said touring was great.

"Some of the younger guys, they are missing out. All those trips to South Africa. There is probably more scrutiny now for the players in everything."

 

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