31-YEAR-OLD Hoani Matenga brings experience and physicality to the Maori All Blacks. Capable at both lock and loose forward, Matenga began his rugby career for Otago and while in Dunedin was a founding member of the acclaimed New Zealand band Six60.
Matenga left the band to focus on rugby and has enjoyed stints in France and Spain, along with one season in Super Rugby with the Blues. He joined the Bay of Plenty Steamers in 2018 on a two-year contract. He has continued to develop his game during this season’s Mitre 10 Cup, racking up game time and bringing strength to the Steamer’s loose forward trio.
As part of New Zealand Rugby’s Headfirst initiative, which aims to educate athletes about mental fitness and wellbeing, Matenga wrote a song called Harmony, reflecting on his own thoughts on maintaining mental fitness within rugby.