Euros could tempt Tikoirotuma away from Chiefs

Chiefs winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma has revealed that he could leave New Zealand and play in Europe at the end of the Super Rugby season.

The Fijian flyer says that although his plans keep changing he is open to offers from Europe but he will do whatever is best for his family.

However he first wants to win another Super Rugby title with the Chiefs.

“If we can win this three-peat, I’ll be happy to move on, or see what happens from there,” he told Fairfax NZ News.

Tikoirotuma made his international debut for Fiji on their end of year tour last year which gave him the opportunity to show the world his skills.

The winger’s wife and three kids were happy when he made his international debut for Fiji last year and they know it could open up opportunities in the future.

“That’s another story, playing international rugby, another level of rugby. I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved,” he said.

“It wasn’t a goal at the start. Because I’m having a small family to bring up, I thought I’d play for Fiji and try and take my trade somewhere else so I can look after my family.”

Tikoirotuma has played his way up through the ranks starting as a Heartland Championship player with Wanganui for five years and then moving to ITM Cup side Manawatu in 2010.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was Manawatu coach at the time and brought Tikoirotuma to the Chiefs when he started coaching the franchise in 2012.

Chiefs assistant coach Wayne Smith that that Tikoirotuma is the kind of player that would have fallen under the radar if it had not been for the Chiefs coaching team.

“We were pretty lucky having Dave Rennie, Tom Coventry and Andrew Strawbridge all coming from ITM Cup, so they know the quality of these young guys, and it gave us a real advantage when we selected that first team,” Smith said

“Tiks is one of those that maybe no one else really knew about, but our coaches did. “

“You know, he’s won two championships now, just like Andrew Horrell. They’ve both proven to me that they’re top-class players.”

“Tiks is a player who we really recognise as having huge value. For me, system-wise, I think he’s the best defensive winger in the country.”

“He understands the game . . . understands how to cover their plays from the wing. He’s a player that we’re really happy for.”

Tikoirotuma says that he has been working hard on his defence and is proud of that aspect of his game as he came to the Chiefs as a defensive liability.

“When I came here the first year I was struggling a bit, so I put more time and emphasis on that, and I think I came out firing in the second year.”

He says that he now plans to work on his kicking game which he says he “sharpen up a bit”, and said he sometimes takes his speed for granted.

Tikoirotuma added that any decisions about his playing future would be made later in the season but he does have one goal set in stone.

“That was my goal, to play for Fiji in the next World Cup, but again, we’ll see what happens. If there’s no injuries.”

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