RATU Tagive has agreed a new two-year contract with Glasgow Warriors, to begin when his current deal expires this summer. The winger had few opportunities to impress in his first year and more at Scotstoun, largely because of restrictions on non-EU players, but has made a big impact this season and was rewarded with a call-up to the Scotland squad.
Now, having been involved in Six Nations preparations but not included in any of Gregor Townsend’s matchday squads, the 28-year-old aims to go that last step in the seasons to come and gain international recognition. Becoming Scottish qualified on residence meant he could play more frequently for Glasgow, which in turn allowed him to catch the national coach’s eye. Maintaining his fine recent form for the Warriors has to be the priority, then, but, having had a taste of Test preparations, Tagive is hungry for more.
“It’s crazy,” he explained. “It really felt like the first day of school going into [Scotland] camp even though obviously I knew half the team there – we train and play every day with them. But it was exciting, and to work alongside the likes of Hoggy [Stuart Hogg] again and see the way he operates, pick up as many different things. Sean Maitland and those guys. Having had a chance to meet, play and rub shoulders with them, I’m like a sponge, really, pick up and learn as much as you can.
“I wasn’t thinking about it during the year. I suppose it’s at the back of your mind a little, but you could never focus on it, just work from week to week and if it all happens off the back of that, then that’s great. I did get the call from Gregor a little bit earlier from the rest of the boys, and he offered the information knowing it was my first time and just in case I’d organised a trip away during the Six Nations break when I’d be going into camp instead.
“It’s another step up in that environment. Everyone’s there because they’re performing so well and to be in amongst that was really exciting, an amazing buzz.
“I guess it’s been a bit of a breakout year for me,” he continued. “I’m still establishing myself, and I’m not one of those players who has the luxury of knowing they’ll be starting [for Glasgow] because of the plethora of wingers who could be starting. There’s a lot of competition there, but the aspiration is to put your hand up and try to start every week, and then taking that form into the international circuit. That’s where my mind is for the next year at least.”
Born in Sydney, Tagive played rugby league for the first few years of his senior career before turning to union. He signed for Glasgow in late 2016, making his debut in February of the following year, but his chances were limited because of the other non-EU players in the squad, and the rule that only two could be picked at any one time.
“It’s a real relief that’s not overhanging anymore,” he added. “The decisions that the coaches are making every week aren’t based on that but on merit because you’re playing well.
“There had been a few chances that I missed because of the rule, and that’s just the way it was. There was a game last year against Munster when I was 24th man, during one of the international windows, and then DTH [van der Merwe] went down during the week, Niko [Matawalu] who was on the bench had to start, and I went to the bench.
“Just after the captain’s run and we’re about to jump on the bus to get to the airport and go to Cork, Dave [Rennie, Glasgow’s head coach] comes over and I could see the disappointment and knew something was up, and he said ‘Mate, we’ve stuffed up here, we can’t play you because we have Callum [Gibbins] and Nick Frisby and we can only have two no qualified”. Of course Stafford [McDowall] came in, took his chance and ran with it and went on to have a stellar season off the back of that, so it was great for him.”