Melbourne Rebels youngest debutant Esei Haangana has played just seven matches since making his debut in 2017 as an 18-year old but looks set to be one to watch in the future.
On the eve of round one the up and coming second rower took time on Monday night to cross live from the Canberra camp to chat with Mel Kawa as part of the “Kawa Convos” Instagram interview series.
“It’s good, it’s cold,” Haangana said.
“The boys are just getting used to the cold weather, it’s a lot colder here than it was back in Melbourne.
“It’s been awesome, a bulk of our squad moved over, a lot of the staff as well.
“It was a big sacrifice for a lot of the boys to move away from family but I think it’s been awesome, just everyone being in the same facility means we get to socialise a lot more with the boys, I guess it’s been a blessing in time for our team, but it’s been awesome so far.”
It was a fairy-tale start for the now 21-year old’s Super Rugby career, who made his dream debut as an 18-year-old coming off the bench against the Lions in round 11 2017 making him the youngest ever Rebel to play a game.
With only seven games off the bench across the last four years for the Rebels, the promising lock says he has learnt to stay humble and stay hungry as he looks to push for a start in season 2020.
“My first year was probably a bit of a blessed year.
“I got here, played a lot of games and was in a professional environment.
“When you’re a kid, everything is so amazing but then you don’t realise the fact there’s the downfall’s, there’s the not getting picked in teams, there’s being excluded and stuff like that.
“My next year and a bit was more so learning about that, learning that you had to go through these downfalls.
“There were times where you weren’t going to be picked and I guess it just worked in my favour that you have to learn these things and work hard and continually just stay hungry and stay humble,” Haangana noted.
The Rebels will be looking to kickstart their Vodafone Super Rugby AU campaign on Saturday night with a win against the Brumbies in Canberra.
Ha’angana says he and his side are not concerned by playing away and will looking to combat the Brumbies set-piece style of play.
“They’re a quality side the Brumbies, they’re very set piece focused and I guess that’s just where we want to go back at them, just do a lot of set pieces and stuff.
“I guess it’s just a bit different being at their home ground but I guess nothing changes for us, it’s all the same.
“Footy’s footy, you play wherever and I guess you just get on with it this week and looking forward to it.”