Walden keen after using down time well

Back at work ... Highlanders midfield back Teihorangi Walden at training at Logan Park yesterday....
Back at work ... Highlanders midfield back Teihorangi Walden at training at Logan Park yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Highlanders midfield back Teihorangi Walden used his lockdown time wisely — he completed an eight-year journey.

Walden, who turned 27 on Monday, is itching to get back out on the field doing what he does best.

After an extended lockdown, which lasted longer than most thanks to the Highlanders having to return from overseas and go into self isolation in the middle of March, Walden has been enjoying getting back on the training paddock.

He said the side had gelled back together well and was slowly increasing the training intensity.

The side had talked about its indifferent start to the season.

‘‘Throughout the lockdown the coaches and the leadership ground have had some great conversations — addressed what has happened already and talked about what we needed to be better at ...’’ he said.

‘‘We did that on the first day, flushed it all and everything was about moving forward.’’

Walden said the players had to keep a strict protocol, and were pretty much just going from home to training and back as they wanted to stay safe.

The medical staff were keeping an eye on everything and working well. No-one had reported any sickness.

The training had been going well, and new boys Nehe Milner-Skudder and Vilimoni Koroi had added some energy to the group, Walden said.

Walden had finished his final university paper during the lockdown and was set to graduate with a bachelor of science with a major in geography and a minor in Te Maori.

It took him eight years for what was usually a three-year degree but rugby had got in the way.

He was supposed to graduate in a ceremony this month but that was canned, so he will wait for another day.

He admitted pressure from his parents led to him completing the degree, although he was pleased to finally get it done.

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