Levi revelling in new role


Wednesday, October 19, 2005    NZPA    Photosport

He seems more than satisfied with his new role in the Otago team which was as a senior player and reserve who can cover three positions.

Levi was now accustomed to getting the call with 20 minutes remaining and entering the fray at No 8, where his devastating tackling and robust running style have served Otago well.

He'll probably be called on to perform the duty again in Saturday's
Air New Zealand NPC final against Auckland, but points out the position was not totally foreign to him.

"The funny thing is I've always played at No 8 for my school and for my club," Levi said.

"I haven't done much at first-class level, I suppose.

"But Tom Donnelly and Chucky James Ryan have come through well at lock and this is a good way for me to contribute."

Levi said he always admired the all-round game of former Otago No 8 Taine Randell.

He was also learning the intricacies of the position through watching teammate Grant Webb and playing with flanker Josh Blackie.

"I like a bit of hard running and hard tackling, but I'm also looking at other areas. I've been working with Josh on the sort of lines I have to be running.

"The hardest thing to get used to is the work-rate. But I'm enjoying it and working on it.

"I don't really like the term impact player. People see you as being a bit lazy and just coming on for one or two big runs.

"When I come on, I guess I am trying to have an impact. I'm just trying to get involved and maybe do something special."

Levi said there was an extraordinarily good feeling in the Otago squad ahead of the final at Eden Park.

Speaking of that ground where Otago sides have struggled over the years, Levi pointed out he had won at Eden Park with the Otago Colts, the Highlanders had beat the Blues there in 2002, and Otago had gone close last year.

The players don't see it as a cursed place and neither should their fans, he said.

Otago had their major training session of the week yesterday, after an hour in which the side was besieged by the media.

The team have a day off today and will have a light run on Carisbrook tomorrow before heading to Auckland.