Latu praises mentors’ influence

Date published: March 21 2017

Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu explained he owes his success to the teachers and experiences he has had along the way.

The in-form hooker has taken charge of the Waratahs’ starting number two jersey in his return to dominance in the 2017 Super Rugby season. The Tongan-born front-rower has been one of the most impressive hookers in the competition, showing an incredible knack for ball poaching.

Latu explained that he owed a lot of his success to those he had around him.

“It helped having Taf (Tatafu Polota-Nau) as a mentor here, I was just trying to be a sponge and soak everything up here that he had to offer as a hooker for me as a young guy coming through,” Latu told the Waratahs website.

“It’s all thanks to Taf, he really helped me… Keps (Sekope Kepu) really guiding me.”

Now at the top of the food chain since Polota-Nau’s departure to the Western Force, the four-cap Wallaby has plenty to reflect on.

“At times I miss that guidance, I miss getting those tips from him. It’s good to step out from his shadows and just get more game time and try and make that number two jersey mine.”

Since his time in the Australian Camp, the improvement in his pilfering skill has not gone unnoticed as this season alone, Latu has made 10 successful turnover attempts.

Latu attributes his ball poaching success to learning from Brumbies star David Pocock.

“He was big as and he couldn’t get moved so I was like, maybe I could use my weight to not get moved. He is great over the ball and yeah he gave me a couple of tips – it’s a secret between me and him.

“I’m just trying to help the team wherever I can – and if that is getting over the ball and steal it then so be it.”