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Rush and co's big prank on Tito's first training session

First Team News | 14th May 2020

When Paul Tito rocked up to Llanharan Rugby Club for his first Cardiff Blues training session, the rest of the squad, led by Xavier Rush, saw the perfect opportunity to have a bit of fun, at the expense of experienced photographer, Huw Evans.

Huw Evans Picture Agency has been at the heart of Welsh rugby for decades, providing us with some of the most iconic images from the beautiful game over the years.

They’ve snapped all of rugby’s global superstars, including all of your Arms Park heroes - from Jonah Lomu to Gareth Edwards and from Sam Warburton to Gethin Jenkins.

When a new signing arrives at the Welsh capital, it’s normal protocol for Huw Evans’ photographers to turn up and take some stock images of the fresh faces for future use.

However, as revealed on the latest Cardiff Blues podcast, featuring both Tito and Rhys Williams, the former Wales international full-back revealed it didn’t quite go to plan for the photographer.

Williams explained: “In those days, I think the training session was in Llanharan Rugby Club, and I think we were doing a training session out in the community.

“Huw turns up and said ‘I’m here to take a picture of Paul Tito, which one is he?’

“We said: ‘You can’t miss him. He’s a six foot six, New Zealand Maori captain. You just can’t miss him.

“At the time we were doing a lap around the pitch, and after doing the first lap, Huw had his camera ready and as the whole squad ran past him he’s asked ‘well, which one is he?’ 

“We still go by asking ‘What do you mean? He’s the big Maori guy.’

“We do another lap and then come back in to do a drill and Huw is still looking through his camera and is just lost.

“I think Rushy eventually just said ‘The big ginger fella!’”

Tito, who had enjoyed a successful spell with Hurricanes, would go on to cement his status as a Cardiff Blues legend, captaining the side to silverware and the ‘Tiiittooo’ chants would be heard up and down the Arms Park terraces.

The ginger mop was a key figure in the pack for a number of years, but on the podcast he explained his Maori heritage and his early impressions of his Cardiff Blues team-mates.

The former lock, who now coaches Pau, added: “Tito is a very Maori name, and it obviously comes from my father, otherwise I wouldn’t have this last name.

“His father, and my grandad, has Maori bloody and Maori heritage, and obviously it trickles down and trickles down.

“The same as with any blood these days, it’s getting thinner and thinner. They say there’s no 100 per cent pure Maori any more because it’s all filtering down.

“I’m from Te Atiawa which is a tribe just outside of Taranaki and that’s how I got to play for the New Zealand Maoris. It’s a great team to play for, especially back in the day where it was semi-pro tours and we used to tour really well!

“We went to the States and to Canada. We’d always wear the jersey with pride but we’d enjoy ourselves off the field as well.

“I can’t remember my first training session but I can remember when we down to Limerick for a pre-season camp and I was in the dorm with Scott Morgan.

“I remember calling my wife saying that I wasn’t sure if I’d made the right decision, because Morgs was straightening his hair before going to bed!

“That was my welcome into Cardiff!”

The Cardiff Blues podcast, including recent episodes with Marc Stcherbina, Casey Laulala and Geraint Thomas is available NOW on all the major platforms!