Back-rower prepares for his third Challenge Cup semi-final and is already steeped in UK culture
WELLER Hauraki may sound like a pure Kiwi but he admits you can call him English – just like his parents!
Salford’s back-rower has been in this country for seven years, first moving to Crusaders before stints at Leeds and Castleford.
And even though he actually faced England in 2010 playing for New Zealand Maori, he feels like he is English off the field.
So much so, his children sound like they were born and bred in Yorkshire and he admits to once being part of a social touch rugby side that would often leave opponents agog at who they were facing.
Little wonder then that his team in Leeds won its league four years running!
Hauraki said: “100 per cent you can call me English – my parents do anyway!
“My kids have Yorkshire accents and they’re starting to get a bit of a Lancashire one now.
“That’s a bit weird but we’ve called this country home for the last seven years now.
“I’ll never whinge about the weather though, I’d rather this than snow any day!”
Hauraki is a vital part of Salford’s hopes of reaching Wembley for the first time since 1969 – he has been there twice.
In 2011, he was part of the Leeds side that lost to Wigan in the final then in 2014 he reached the showpiece with Castlefird, after beating the Warriors along the way.
And he feels that experience could play a huge role for Ian Watson’s men at Warrington on Sunday – not least in the mind.
Hauraki, who is often part of the big ‘Kiwi and Islander’ meet-ups that see players from New Zealand and the Pacific, including Wigan’s Frank Paul Nuuausala, Taulima Tautai and Willie Isa, have a meal added: “It’s a bit scary but I know with the squad we’ve got here that we can do it.
“Everyone doubted us at Wigan when I was at Castleford and we did the job, so we know that any side can play well at the end of the day.
“A lot of times, teams go with a mentality that means they’ve already been beaten by Wigan, but that’s what they want.
“But if everyone goes and does their job on the field, we can come away with the win.
“And I want to be a leader as I’ve been there before and take them in the right direction. In big games like this, players look for leaders.”
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