Rugby: New attitude key for Faddes

Otago centre Matt Faddes fires off a pass during team training on Tuesday. Photo by Gregor...
Otago centre Matt Faddes fires off a pass during team training on Tuesday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Otago centre Matt Faddes has been floating around the Otago team for five years.

And floating as like, in and out, here and there, around and about.

He played two games in 2011, two games in 2012, seven games in 2013 and one game last year.

But he has had a breakout season this year for Otago, making plenty of breaks on attack and shutting down opposition with some solid defence.

The University A centre said he decided at the start of the year it was now or never to make an impact for the blue and golds. He had not signed with the union at the beginning of the club season and needed to perform to get an Otago contract.

''It was do or die really. I just decided I had to have a real crack. Bring a bit more physicality to my game and get more involved,'' he said.

''I didn't really train any differently and that. But I really enjoyed my club footy this year. I know we won and all that but I was with a good bunch of guys and that made it fun.

''I think I used to play with that sort of mental attitude that I hoped someone would notice me. This year I approached things that they had to notice me.''

Faddes (23) said it was hard to put a finger on what had changed He felt he had got into a routine too much with his rugby and perhaps that needed a change.

''I would just go from club into Otago and then go and play sevens. That was just a cycle I got into. Whether that was not helping me, I'm not sure.''

He had put on 5kg to get up to 95kg which he said had helped his physicality.

A run at his preferred position at centre had also helped.

''It's not as though I don't like playing on the wing. But you are just more involved at centre. Do more on attack and defence. On the wing you can go 20 minutes into the game and not make a tackle or touch the ball. Then if you drop it in your first touch it can be all over.''

Faddes has dabbled in sevens and played three tournaments for the national team in 2013.

He was rung by national coach Sir Gordon Tietjens only last week to see if he would be available to play in two warm up tournaments in the coming weeks.

But with Otago still in the hunt in the ITM Cup championship, Faddes decided against it.

His priority at the moment was with the 15 man game and he said there was a marked difference between the two games.

''It is sort of hard to explain. But you are going from 14 people on the field to 30 people on the field and all the different dimensions it brings.''

He said playing sevens at the Olympics was not on the agenda at the moment but a Super rugby contract for next year was what he was chasing.

First up though Faddes has to help Otago take on North Harbour at North Harbour Stadium tonight.

After coming off a huge win over Southland, confidence should be sky high for Otago. But North Harbour is not going to lie down.

The team still has a sniff of getting into the playoffs and has some quality players in its side.

Otago just has to get out and continue on from its 80 minutes against Southland.

• A dramatic 22-22 draw last night against Wellington left Hawkes Bay in the box seat to earn promotion to the ITM Cup Premiership.

The Magpies maintain their three point lead over the Lions with two rounds to play. Top spot will be secured with positive results against Southland and Waikato.

Wellington 22 (Jason Woodward, Reg Goodes, Vaea Fifita tries; J Woodward 2 cons, pen) Hawkes Bay 22 (Chris Eaton, Brendon O'Connor, Robbie Fruean tries; Ihaia West 2 con, pen). Halftime: 15-7.

Otago v North Harbour
North Harbour Stadium, tonight, 7.35pm

Otago: Michael Collins, Sio Tomkinson, Matt Faddes, Tei Walden, Jack Wilson, Peter Breen, Josh Renton, Mika Mafi, James Lentjes, Jackson Hemopo, Tom Franklin, Josh Dickson, Hisa Sasagi, Liam Coltman (captain), Craig Millar. Reserves: Sekonaia Pole, Aki Seiuli, Donald Brighouse, Charlie O'Connell, Naulia Dawai, Kaide Whiting, Fletcher Smith, Jayden Spence.

North Harbour: Matt McGahan or Josh Rowland, Nafi Tuitavake, Pita Akhi, Michael Little, Tevita Li, Daniel Halangahu or Matt McGahan, Bryn Hall (captain), Chris Vui, Josh Blucher, Brandon Nansen, Hayden Triggs, Gerard Tuioti Mariner, Sione Mafileo, James Parsons, Nic Mayhew. Reserves: Ray Niuia, Alex Woonton, George Tuinukuafe, Dillon Wihongi, Kima Iosua, David Bason, Matt Vaega, Josh Rowland or Junior Tofa Vaa.

Referee: Brett Johnson (Bay of Plenty)

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