Ben Tameifuna made his return to ITM Cup rugby after serving the suspension for pushing referee Glen Jackson last month. The massive tighthead showed what Waikato had been missing with a strong performance, including this huge fend and a big tackle.
It was the final round of the regular season in New Zealand’s domestic competition, as Waikato hosted Bay of Plenty and picked up a 29-12 victory to end their season on a positive note.
Tameifuna was last seen in action when he pushed referee Jackson in Waikato’s round 3 match against North Harbour in early September. That resulted in a five week suspension and his side missing out on his considerable presence towards the latter stages of the comp.
On Thursday he gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about, with some excellent turnovers, a big tackle in the first half and this powerful fend on huge prop Solomona Sakalia.
The two giants have played together before, so Sakalia, who weighs around 120kg’s himself, should have known better than to go so high. His error cost him dearly, as Big Ben shrugged him off without too much concern, dealing with the 1.90 metre man as if he were a pesky scrumhalf.
The tackle was made eventually, albeit with the feet and some kind of clumsy trip. Right at the beginning of the match he got the better of another forward, and even though he has built a bit of a reputation for overstepping the mark at times, he wasn’t penalised. Great impact all round.
View the solid hit that Tameifuna made in the first half here