Filipo swaps beer for the Bulls

Date published: May 25 2015

Ross Filipo watched the Chiefs face the Hurricanes on his couch with some beer and pizza. The week later he started against the Bulls.

The 36-year-old was enjoying semi-retirement, with a few club games as player-coach in Waikato club competition, but a severe run of injuries to the Chiefs in the second row meant that help was required.

Enter Filipo, whose knowledge of the side having been part of the squad in 2013 and 2014 came in handy with Brodie Retallick, Matt Symon, Michael Allardice and Mike Fitzgerald absent last weekend.

"It's such a great story isn't it," Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie told Stuff.

"Coming out of semi-retirement to fill a void for us and he did a great job. "

"I thought in my head I could probably get 45-50 minutes out there, but I turned around and looked at the clock and it was 70 minutes so I'm very happy," said Filipo.

"I probably could have finished the game, to be honest, but it was nice for Brian [Alainu'uese] to get out there and have his debut; I'm really happy for him. He's probably the future of the team so it was good for him to get out and have a run.

"I actually surprised myself tonight with how well I felt getting around, it was a lot of fun and a real honour to wear the Chiefs' jersey again

"Last week I was sitting on the couch having beers and pizza, watching the Chiefs play the Hurricanes and thinking how crazy the game had become in terms of the speed and how long the ball's in play, and then next minute I'm getting a call on Sunday saying I've got to come and train.

"I thought I'd come and help the team out and was not expecting to start, but guys didn't come right from their niggles and the next minute I'm doing the job.

"I think retrospect served me well – knowing what I was going into. If I didn't know what I was going into it would have been a hell of a shock but I knew what I was going to be doing so I just prepared as well as I could and made sure the things I did would be effective and help the team.

"I knew I wasn't going to be into everything, but just go out there, try my hardest, stay in the system and not give away any stupid penalties."

Good on you Ross, we salute you.