Year Of New Experiences   23 Jun 2004

by Mark Hotton

Click for a larger image

The last 12 months have been good for Taine Randell, something he readily admits as he sits in a London bar sipping a pint.

There’s the new city, the new club, and of course, the new family member. While Saracens, his London-based team struggled and finished 10th in the Zurich Premiership – and had several players sacked mid-season – the former All Blacks, Highlanders, and Otago captain has kept his form and played well.

Which is something he is happy about, as are his team mates who voted him the players’ Player of the Year for the club.

His first year in London might have been a "settling in period" but the move to England was not as difficult for him and wife Joanne as it could have been.

"London is different but it’s not a good or a bad different. It’s just different," he says. And that goes for the rugby too, with the English weather playing more than a significant role in how the game is played.

Games might start at 3pm, but because of the early darkness, they are played under lights. Little surprise then that the English game is so forward dominated, Randell says.

"There’s more emphasis on set pieces and good strong forward play because it’s vital to keep the dew-covered ball close."

There is little surprise that type of play is reflected in the national team’s style. As a result, there’s more emphasis on strength as opposed to fitness, which means he is stronger than when he played in New Zealand.

Randell enjoys playing in the UK and believes the level of rugby, depending on the team, was about the equivalent of first division NPC, "a bit below Super 12".

That doesn’t mean the pressure is any less though.

"There’s the pressure of relegation, the pressure from fans and the pressure you put on yourself. It is different to New Zealand … it’s, well less intense.

London is a world away from Dunedin, although the leafy suburb of Hampstead, where Randell and Joanne have made their home, is similar to parts of Dunedin – apart from the traffic, people, and noise.

But Randell is happy with his decision to move to London. "It’s probably been everything we would have hoped for."

Both he and Joanne have settled in well, and after the birth of their first child Lanson, in January, it seems everything is falling nicely into place for them.

Randell has another season left on his contract at Saracens and expects to take up the option of a third with the club, which is in a rebuilding stage.

He’s also enjoying some stints in front of the cameras providing analysis during Super 12 games for Sky Sport – which screens some games live in the UK. He’s also going to do some work during the NPC season when he can fit it in.

He has watched the last two All Black tests with interest. But there are certainly no regrets and he’s full of praise for the new captain, Tana Umaga, who was his All Blacks vice-captain in 2002.

"The preference is a forward with experience but Umaga has done a commendable job in the past. He’s a proud All Black, and he’ll do a good job as captain."

Randell also likes the look of the squad, and points to the forward pack strong enough to compete against England as evidence of the thought that’s gone into the team.

"If you look in the locks you’ve got genuine grafters, set piece players who will win line out ball."

Playing against strong English rugby players is something he’s getting used to which will be handy over the next couple of years.

While he knows what he is doing for the next two years, beyond that both he and Joanne have got no firm plans and are happy to see how things develop. She’s taking a break from her career as a solicitor and is a full time mother at present. He’s not sure what he’ll do after rugby – although his eyes light up at the mention of house-husband. It might sound strange for a former All Blacks captain to be content with staying at home with his son, but it seems Randell would be more than happy with that – although it’s unlikely he would give the game away completely.

He’s lucky he’s remained relatively injury free in recent years. He had an arthroscopy on a knee recently and had "a bit of rubbish removed" but apart from that is in good health. As a young All Black captain Randell had a rough time after the 1999 World Cup and it seems only now that is starting to appreciate what it was he actually achieved.

"I’m very proud of the fact that I’m an All Black and very proud to have been a captain. "They were great times. At the time you don’t really appreciate that because you’re too busy trying to play well and don’t notice what it is you’re achieving."

In fact, he admits it wasn’t until he took part in a photo shoot with all living All Black captains that he realised the significance of what he had done.

"Getting a copy of the photo and I’m there with Colin Meads, Wilson Whineray and Fred Allen and Kevin Skinner, that’s what brought it home.

"That’s when it really sunk in."

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

Your Comments:

left by Flea 3 Mar 2009

I know them, Lanson goes to our school now. He doesn't really look like that now obviously. Taine came to our school and talked about leading the allblacks. He is really funny


Finalists announced for the Air New Zealand UK New Zealander of the Year Award 2019

6 Dec 2018 Press Releases
Finalists for the prestigious UK New Zealander of the Year Award 2019, presented by the New Zealand Society of the United... more

New Zealand increases climate finance commitment to Pacific

25 Sep 2018 Environment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 New Zealand increases climate finance commitment to Pacific New Zealand will increase its global climate finance... more


Multinationals to pay fair share of tax

26 Jun 2018 Business News
26 JUNE 2018 HON STUART NASH New measures to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax will come into force next... more

NZ Government launches Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures

22 Aug 2018 Business News By Hon Damien O'Connor
21 AUGUST 2018 Growing New Zealand's food and fibre sectors sustainably and supporting a thriving economy are the hallmarks of a new... more


New Zealand wine celebrates bicentenary with record sales

6 Dec 2018 Food & Wine
In 2019, New Zealand will be celebrating 200 years since the first vine was planted on its shores.  From 100 grapevines... more

REVIEW: Emma Timpany's "Travelling in the Dark"

1 Dec 2018 Review By Charlotte Everett
Emma Timpany’s Travelling in the Dark weaves a tale of homecoming that will resonate with many, and particularly with those who... more


More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle

22 Aug 2018 Property
30 JULY 2018More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle HON JENNY SALESA The 2018 National Construction Pipeline... more

NZ Property: Foreign buyers ban passes third reading

15 Aug 2018 Property
15 AUGUST 2018 HON DAVID PARKER The Bill to put in place the Government's policy of banning overseas buyers of existing homes has... more


Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more

Post-study work rights emphasise skills NZ needs

8 Aug 2018 Migration
8 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY Changes to post-study work rights will help ensure international students coming to New Zealand... more


Arrival card change to smooth border process for international travellers to NZ

26 Sep 2018 Travel & Tourism By Hon Kris Faafoi
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 International travellers arriving into New Zealand should have a simpler, faster entry as a result of changes to... more

NZ Government to fully fund Auckand's SkyPath as part of $390m investment in walking and cycling

25 Aug 2018 Travel & Tourism
23 AUGUST 2018 HON PHIL TWYFORD HON JAMES SHAW Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Acting Associate Transport Minister James Shaw have... more


America’s Cup court ruling vindicates process

26 Sep 2018 Sailing By Hon David Parker
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Environment Court has today granted the resource consent for the 36th America's Cup bases in Auckland and the... more

Humble Stephen Kearney praises Warriors staff ahead of finals appearance: 'It's not down to one person'

3 Sep 2018 Rugby League
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney paid tribute to the club's unsung heroes ahead of their first taste of NRL finals football since... more


Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more


Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more