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It's a father and son reunion

SPOTLIGHT: There will be a very special father and son reunion in the United Rugby Championship this weekend.

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Father John and son Taine Plumtree find themselves in opposing camps.

If things had worked out differently, they could have been together at the Sharks as coach John was keen to bring his boy over to Durban from New Zealand.

But Taine, who was born in Swansea while his dad was coaching there, opted to go down the Wales route, joining the Scarlets from the Blues Super Rugby side.

Now it’s all set for a memorable family battle with the Sharks heading for Llanelli on Friday.

Flank Taine revealed: “There’s been a little bit of chat between me and dad over the last couple of weeks in the lead-up to it, no doubt.

“I stayed at their hotel on Sunday just because I haven’t seen them since September and it was really good catching up.

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“It is going to be quite a cool occasion for us. It will be a nice family affair with him upstairs and me down on the pitch.

“There’s no hostility whatsoever.

“It’s more a bit of a joke between us now.

“I guess there’s a bit of bragging rights at the dinner table.

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“If I am able to get up, I might finally get the head of the table at dinner when I am back in New Zealand!”

Speaking about his relationship with his old man, the 24-year-old Taine said: “I’ve always looked up to him.

“I’ve been around rugby my whole life, so it was something I’ve always wanted to do, but it was never a thing where he was like ‘You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that.’

“He’s never been one to push me to do something because it’s what he wanted me to do, it’s always what I wanted.

“He has always been that sort of pillar in the background who has helped me out with my rugby through my career, giving me pretty decent advice, and he still does.

“We always catch up after a game. He gives me a couple of pointers on what he thinks I did well and what he thinks I could do better and that won’t change this weekend either.

“We will catch up on Friday night for a beer, no doubt, and chat about the game.”

Taine is following in his father’s footsteps on the flank, so how does he feel he compares as a player?

“I know he was a bit of a rangy loose forward, so I probably wouldn’t say I’m too far away from him. I would say I’m a bit better though! He probably wouldn’t agree!”

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Dad John has made no secret of the fact he would have liked to work with his son, who played for both the Blues and Wellington in New Zealand.

“I wanted him to come to the Sharks, but as soon as Warren Gatland got involved, it was all over, he was heading for Wales,” said the former All Blacks assistant coach.

“I am really proud of him. He is loving it at the Scarlets. He loves the Welsh people and he is happy. So if he’s happy, I’m happy.”

Giving his take on whether there had been any realistic prospect of him joining the Sharks, Taine said:

“The path to Wales was pretty much already set.

“I do want to get coached by him at some point in my career, but I want to build a name for myself before I have my dad as a coach.

“There are positives and a few negatives about having your old man as your coach. A couple of eyebrows can get raised.

“In terms of where I am in my career, I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet. I want all my achievements to be on my own merits.”

Having agreed to join the Scarlets, Plumtree was fast tracked into Warren Gatland’s Wales World Cup training squad last summer and made his Test debut against England in August.

But a shoulder injury ruled him out of World Cup contention and when it continued to be a problem at regional level the decision was made that he needed surgery.

Now, after five months out, he is back playing for the Scarlets and ready for a very special family occasion.

 

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