Delany relishing his Bay of Plenty return

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

The beaten semifinalists in last year's series made big improvements in performance and will be heartened with the return of 61-game veteran and first five-eighths Mike Delany who last turned out for the side in 2010 before heading overseas and playing for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan, Clermont Auvergne in France and the Newcastle Falcons in England.

Delany has returned much the wiser for having to learn to adapt to different styles of the game, notwithstanding the pressures of having to learn new languages as well.

"It's all very interesting and you have to learn to be quite patient at times," he said.


"It is a different type of game up there. The tactical side of things is very accurate, you have to be very clinical in your exits and making sure that you are pretty sharp in that area otherwise you get stung for it, especially with the weather conditions.

"It's a little bit more of a negative kind of approach but they love their 'D' and they pride themselves on that overseas," he said.

Turning out for Bay of Plenty would be about finding the balance between the two styles he has experienced.

The Bay side were keen to throw the ball around and that was what made the Mitre 10 Cup so successful because it was good to watch and people get behind their teams and it was a case of helping the Bay find their balance while also getting some control, he said.

The age factor, Delany is 35, was an interesting feature because he would be playing alongside players who may not remember him when he played previously for the side.

Delany acknowledged that but said it was good for him as well because the younger players had a lot of energy and excitement while there was always the banter from them as well.

"It's been a funny few months actually catching up with these guys and the young guys are pretty funny and they've been giving me a bit of stick too which is good," he said.

Issues over his overseas club release meant he didn't get to play any club rugby and he has been confined to training with the Bay squad.

He had kept in touch with the game in New Zealand, especially the Bay of Plenty games.

There were players who had been in the side for a season or two now and they had talked about how close they had been to finishing in a better position last year and it came down to taking the odd try in a game, or stopping one being scored against them, and the difference that could make on the ladder at the end.

"It's not far off now and hopefully we can put things together and see what happens," he said.

Delany has noticed a younger profile on the representative scene. When he last played it tended to be harder to get into sides, but there was definitely a younger edge to sides now.

"Guys probably tend to head overseas a little bit earlier and that has definitely changed the dynamic of the competition. It's fast and quick and guys just want to play so it's exciting and a good chance for these guys to put their skills on show in the Mitre 10 Cup," he said.

Having recovered from his most recent injury, a broken thumb, Delany is looking forward to getting into the season.

"It's short and sharp which is a bit different to overseas where you are playing for 11 months of the year and most of those are freezing cold and dark, so it is refreshing and I'm looking forward to it," he said.