New RaboDirect Rebels signing Kimami Sitauti has spoken of the pride he has in being signed to help cover the void of departed Rebel Mark Gerrard, and of his ambition to try and emulate some of the Wallaby utility back’s achievements.
Signed from the Brumbies to bolster a Rebels backline that will be missing the likes of Gerrard, Julian Huxley and James Hilgendorf in 2013, Sitauti brings with him experience of two years under two of the world’s top coaches, as well as international experience with the Australian U20’s and Australian 7’s teams.
The Nudgee College speedster is looking forward to working with Damien Hill.
“I have been lucky to work with Jake White and Ewen McKenzie, and I know how important it is to work with great coaches,” explains Situati.
“Damien is another great coach, very straight up, so I am very excited about the opportunity.”
After a season apiece with the Reds and Brumbies, Sitauti has been able to watch the Rebels from afar and judge how they are perceived by their Conference competitors.
“When I was at the Brumbies, we just never knew what to expect from the Rebels – they are just so unpredictable," said Sitauti.
"Teams really don’t know how to read them, or what they are going to do, so we just need to add some consistency but keep that X-factor about us.”
Sitauti has a wicked step and is very quick, and Rebels Recruiting Manager Sam Cordingley can’t help but sound excited when asked about his prospects.
“Timami hasn’t had a lot of opportunities, but he was a schoolboy prodigy, and while he hasn’t played Super Rugby he has been involved in some first-class programs and setups," said Cordingley.
"He has all the skills and assets to be a great outside back, and most importantly he’s got the commitment to improve.”
One area Timami wants to improve is his kicking, especially if he tries to emulate his fellow Tongan-heritage star Gerrard.
“It would be fantastic if he was still here, and he has left the biggest shoes to fill. He was a hero of mine growing up, so if I can head towards achieving what he has, then that’s a great place to start.”
Kimami has played alongside Nick Stirzaker, Luke Jones and Paul Alo-Emile in representative sides in the past, and is settling in well to his new surroundings.
“Cooper Vuna has been really welcoming, and it helps knowing some of the guys and having played with them already. I just can’t wait to kick off the season.”
Sitauti was just 18 and one of the youngest players ever to play in a Senior Club final back in 2009 with Souths in Queensland, and with a Commonwealth Games silver medal in Rugby 7’s as well, you can be rest assured that this is one young man who is determined to be successful.
Pete Fairbairn is a freelance writer and a big RaboDirect Rebels fan. You can follow him on twitter @skippytbk