When we look back on this season in the future one of the key things we will remember are players joining us when the season was in full flow and quickly establishing themselves as key members of the team. Perhaps the best example of this is Terrence Hepetema who has made the 12 shirt his own since arriving. This week Matt Merritt caught up with him for a chat to see how he has settled in.
So Terrence, you’ve been with the club for a few months now, how are you settling in?
Yeah, I’ve been here for three months now. I’m really enjoying it. The facilities are good, the boys are good and I’m just enjoying a different style of rugby! My surroundings, being in London… It’s a cool change of lifestyle!
Speaking of living in London, I gather you got a couple of housemates not long after you’d moved across yourself!
So, I’m living with Alivereti and Albert. They’re two good lads, very quiet but we get along great. All three of us being far away from home we’ve created a little bond. It’s nice.
It must be good not to be the new boy so quickly after joining too.
Yeah, I was the new boy for about a week before those two stole the title!
You were involved in a good win against Bedford last weekend. There were some trying circumstances in the lead up and during the game, how was it for you?
Yeah it was good, it was a tough game. Obviously you have to adapt to the conditions because they’re uncontrollable. I guess there were patches where we played well but we have to be better as a side and we know that.
We’ve had a hard look at ourselves this week about how we play the game and, no disrespect to Bedford and how they play the game, we have to be better as a side and we can’t let teams stay in the game for that long, we need to close it out.
Staying that the boys showed some grit to push through and get the win.
You’ve formed an impressive centre partnership with Tom Stephenson in recent weeks. How important it to find that fit?
I guess playing together and playing well takes time. Being able to put that consistent partnership out each week is what does that. When you’re chopping & changing and players are coming in & out it’s hard for anyone to play well. We’ve played a few games on the bounce now and we’ve started to understand how we play as individuals, how he can get the best out of me and vice versa. He’s good, he’s an experienced player and it makes my job a lot easier!
We’ve got quite a lot of options in the centres and we’ve seen guys wear both the 12 and 13 shirt. You’ve predominantly played at inside centre but do you have any preference?
I’ve played 12 for the last few years now but in my younger days I played sometimes at 13. I’m comfortable playing wherever but the more you play, it becomes more of a specialised position. Like I said the more you chop and change the harder it is to find a rhythm.
I’m happy playing 12 but whatever the coaches decide I’ll be happy with it.
For those who are new to the game or wanting to learn more what would you say were the real differences between the two positions?
Probably in the our team 12 is more of a ball playing role and the 13 needs to be a bit quicker… it’s hard to explain but I guess 12 is more of a distributer with 13 as an athlete/carrier/fast-runner type.
So you see yourself in that second receiver role a lot of the time?
We’re looking forward now to Coventry on the weekend and a run of home games. How have you found the Madejski?
I’ve really enjoyed it. In comparison to some of the pitches I’ve played on at away grounds it’s one of the best. It’s nice to be at home playing in front of your own people. We’ve always been able to put on a good performance and that’s all due to the support and having your fans around.
What are you expecting from Coventry on the weekend?
They’re a good side, we played them a few weeks ago in the cup and they really pushed out boys. We have to respect them but we have to worry about what we do and how we play. If we can get our processes right and do what we do I’m confident we can beat any side.
Last questions from us Terrence, we’ve had a lot of good news in recent weeks with new signings. You’ll have played against some of these guys previously so what should fans expect from the likes of Phipps and Rona?
They’re really experienced players who’ve had a lot of experience for their countries and in Super Rugby so they’ll bring a wealth of knowledge and a different outlook on the game. It’s exciting!
Our thanks to Terrence for his time, to @RugbyLI and of course to the club for their continued support.