Former Worthing Raider Semisi Taulava is making a big impression since turning professional at Worcester Warriors.
The 29-year-old Tongan joined Worcester at the beginning of the season and has adapted to life as a full-time pro in the Aviva Premiership with aplomb.
Taulava crashed over for the decisive try in Friday’s vital match against London Welsh at Sixways as the Warriors picked up four points in their quest to stay out of relegation trouble.
Taulava arrived on the south coast from New Zealand three years ago, combining playing at Worthing with a job as a PE teacher at The Angmering School.
The powerful back rower, who plays at number 8, said: “It was a great time for me, because I began to realise what I could do. It gave me a huge amount of confidence.”
He moved on to Birmingham and Solihull and then Rotherham from where Worcester head coach Richard Hill offered him the chance to go full time.
Since making his Premiership debut in the opening game of the season at Bath, he has appeared in every one of Worcester’s top-flight games, including the dominant performance against the Welsh on Friday.
Taulava has qualified for England by residence and has ambitions to play international rugby for his adopted country.
He added: “I’m going to give it a real go and see where it takes me.”