Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu is hoping to cause some headaches for his former mentors when he returns to his Auckland roots for the Tri-Nations clash with the All Blacks next weekend.
The Waratahs loosehead got an opportunity to start the first two Tests of the year in the absence of the injured Benn Robinson and he certainly did not disappoint, with his strong performance against Springbok debutant tighthead Werner Kruger particularly impressive.
His next assignment is a significant one as he returns to the city where he grew up to face two of the coaches that had a major impact on his career and his development as a tight forward.
The Sydney-born 25-year-old spent three years in Tonga before moving to Auckland where he attended the same school as Jonah Lomu - Wesley College. He began his rugby life as a hard-hitting No.8 until he met All Black scrum guru Mike Cron.
Kepu gained selection to the New Zealand Under-19 team after an impressive school career as a combative loose forward, but at the first Baby Blacks training camp he attended Cron took one look at him and told him that he was moving to the front row.
According to Kepu, Cron's words were: "You're moving to the front row. I want to teach you how to be a loose-head."
"That was it. From that moment I never went back to No.8," Kepu told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I had just finished school and wasn't really looking after myself, in particular my diet. So I was putting on a bit of beef. They already saw I had the running skills but now had the bulk to be a prop," he explained.
It was a steep learning curve for Kepu who found himself touring South Africa as a prop just four months later, and there were some harsh lessons to be learned about what it takes to front up at scrum-time.
"You can say it was a massive learning experience. I went over to South Africa with the U19 team and discovered what it was like to be dished up and folded all ways. I wasn't finding it much fun having my neck bent backwards," he said.
On his return Kepu was keen to revert to the back of the scrum after his difficult experiences in the front row, but it was not long before he heard from current All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen who was then in charge of the New Zealand age-group representataive teams.
According to Kepu, Hansen 'got wind of it, gave me a call, and told me to stay in the front row'. The decision proved to be a good one as after appearing for Counties Manukau in the New Zealand National Provincial Championship he was signed by then-Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie, and with the aid of an Australian passport, was Sydney-bound in 2008.
Three years later he is getting ready to take on the All Blacks in his old home town, and he clearly cannot wait to run out at Eden Park next weekend.
Kepu said: "Growing up in New Zealand, you dream of being an All Black. If I get selected to play against them … would be massive, but to play them at a ground so special as Eden Park would be incredible..
"I still have a lot of my family over there … but they all now support Australia. Looks as if I'll have to round up some tickets for them," he added.
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