New Zealand lock Jarrad Hoeata admits he is relishing his new life at Cardiff Blues - and revealed how a glowing recommendation from former player Paul Tito fired his ambition to move to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Hoeata made his debut for Cardiff Blues last weekend against Glasgow Warriors and will line up alongside Filo Paulo in the second row engine room tonight (Friday) against Ulster Rugby.
The former All Blacks ace made the move to the Guinness PRO12 from the Highlanders and admits he felt it was the right time in his career to face a new challenge.
And he also spoke to good friend Tito – who made 124 appearances for Blues between 2007 and 2012 – to get the lowdown on his new surroundings.
“I’m really enjoying it here,” said Hoeata. “The boys have been really welcoming and it’s been great.
“It was good to get on the field against Glasgow and get 60 minutes under the belt. I felt the forwards played well in patches, but we were disappointed with the result.
“We are looking forward to Ulster now. They are one of the top teams in the PRO12, very direct at times with big boys like Nick Williams, so we need to front up.
“I’m fit now so hopefully I can build up my games and get that consistency and kick on from there.
“Personally, this season I want to add something to the team. I’m friends with Paul Tito and when he was here the team was really successful. I would love the team to get to where it was,” he added.
“I spoke to Tito about the Blues, who I knew from my time with Taranaki. I used to lock with him in his last year there when it was my first. I took advice of him and he loved his time here; he always spoke highly about the set-up and the people. I wanted to be a part of that.
“I had another offer on the table from the Highlanders, but I think a few New Zealanders leave it a bit long and come over late. I wanted to come when I was playing some good footy and could add to the team. Coming at this time was the right option for me.
“I think there’s a lot of potential here this season. Looking around the locker room it’s exciting.”
Watch Jarrad Hoeata and the Cardiff Blues in action this Friday night at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park! Call the ticket Office on 02920 302030 or visit in person right up until kick-off to take your place for all the Friday night action!