TPN: I still want to be the best hooker in Australia

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Tatafu Polota-Nau will be driven by one factor in 2017 - a burning desire to become the best hooker in Australia.

Sick of playing second fiddle to Stephen Moore at national level, Polota-Nau was straight to the point when he spoke to about his motivation in moving to the Western Force after a decorated decade at the Waratahs.

The 31-year-old has been one of Australia's best hookers since making his Wallabies debut at age 20 but has never quite made it to the top of the tree.

Polota-Nau hopes that will all change with the move west.

Tatafu Polota-Nau in his first outing for the Western Force, a trial match against the Melbourne Rebels at Bond University. Photo: Walmsley

"I wanted to continue on from what I’ve left off (at the Waratahs)," he said after the Force's trial win over the Melbourne Rebels at Bond University.

"I still want to be the best hooker in Australia." - Tatafu Polota-Nau

Polota-Nau has always had massive potential but his kamikaze style of play in both attack and defense has led to a litany of injuries - the latest being a badly broken arm which required surgery at the end of last year.

The injuries have stopped him from playing consistent stretches of elite rugby, an issue he did not shy away from.

"It’s great to be back on the paddock and really test the arm because there was a bit of nervous tension there as to how that progressed," he said.

"I thought it held up pretty well and it was good to get involved pretty quickly but there are a few areas that I need to work on."

Who's happier, this lucky fan or TPN? Photo: Getty ImagesIn making the shift west, Polota-Nau hopes to spur himself on to a consistent starting spot come the international season.

"Last year wasn’t the best season for me when it comes to injuries so it was a personal choice - it’s nothing to take away from the Tahs but for me as a person and as a rugby player I felt I needed to make the move," he said.

"It was also about making myself more proactive in terms of getting right for the season."

Polota-Nau dreams of making the number two jersey his own. Photo: Getty ImagesThe 68-cap Wallaby has also been impressed by the team culture being built in Perth.

"First day of preseason I walked in, the boys had their arms wide open, it’s a great feeling to be a part of," he said.

"They’re a great bunch of boys and you can see right away, from the get go, the chemistry that is here between the boys. "Everything is starting to shape up and I’m really just looking forward to getting into the season."