Raise Your Game: How dedicated are you to training?
Filo Tiatia: You've got to be dedicated to train as hard as you can, for as long as you can, because in any sport, and especially this environment, there's a lot of contact. It's all about conditioning and good preparation to keep your body in the best condition possible to play games.
RYG: Can you describe the training regime at the Ospreys?
FT: We had a little bit of fun today. We played a lot of ball games and football, which we were terrible at. It's all about enjoyment, running around and getting the heart rate up. We need to get our fitness to peak levels.
RYG: How committed do you have to be to get to this level in rugby?
FT: You've got to be committed. It comes down to setting yourself goals as an individual. In rugby you have team goals that you strive for, but you also set yourself simple goals that are achievable. It helps to write them down so you understand what you need to do, and what your focus is. Put them on your wall, then each time you wake up, you'll see them. Then you can just tick them off once you've achieved them.
RYG: Who inspired you?
Filogia Ian Tiatia
4 June 1971
Wellington, New Zealand
1.92m / 6'3"
112kg / 17.6 stone
Toyota Verblitz (2002-2006)
- Two New Zealand All Blacks caps
- Magners League Champion (2007)
FT: My parents did. My father's a keen sportsman, and so is my mother. My mother's brothers all played international rugby for Samoa. That's where I got my dreams from.
RYG: Can you remember what it felt like the first time you played rugby?
FT: Yes. At the age of five or six I just used to kick the ball with both feet. I wasn't very good to start with but I practised and practised. Once I finally got it, it was an unbelievable sensation. It was then that I realised that if you work at something, it pays off.
RYG: How important is it to have a good diet if you want to make it to the top?
FT: Everybody likes to indulge in a bit of ice-cream and junk food. If you want to be a top player you've got to be sensible in terms of what you eat. We have nutritionists to advise us on what to eat, in terms of our protein and carbohydrate intake. It's really important that you get a good balance.
RYG: Could you tell us a bit about the work you're doing with the younger players?
FT: I'm the granddaddy of this side. I'm the oldest person playing in the team, so I've got a mentoring role. I've been around the tracks and achieved a few things. I try to make sure that the younger players reach their full potential, and stay on the right track. If they get disheartened, because they're not getting selected for games, I'm someone they can talk to so they stay positive. When you're not playing your head can drop, and you can get a bit negative. I try to tell them that there are a lot of things they can't control, selection being one of them, and that they should just try to stay positive.
RYG: How hard is it to accept defeat?
FT: Everybody reacts differently. For me defeat lingers around for different time periods. I can dwell on some for five minutes or sometimes I can still be thinking about it a week later. It all comes down to experience. You need to reflect on your mistakes and move on. Luckily you always get the opportunity to turn things around in your next performance.
RYG: What have been the highlights of your career?
FT: One of the highlights of my career was playing first class rugby for my province, which was Wellington. Another highlight was playing first class rugby with my brothers. Not many brothers get to do that. I can't explain what it felt like to be out there, playing with them. It was a great feeling.
RYG: What advice would you give to young people who want to play rugby professionally?
FT: The only advice I could give is to stay positive and focused in terms of what your goals are, and stick to them. If you can't attain those goals, maybe they're not realistic. At this level only a small percentage of players make it, so you've really got to strive to get what you want.
Always have a plan B and C, because if it doesn't work out there are other things you can focus on. It's important to have a balance to your life, regardless of what you're doing. I've been playing at this level for a long time, but I've got interests outside of rugby, like my family and my children. They keep me sane.
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