NEW Huddersfield centre Rob McLaren is fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition – and he couldn’t be happier.
The 29-year-old New Zealander had carved out a solid reputation at home, gaining representative recognition with Mid Canterbury.
But he always dreamed of playing in England at some stage in his career.
And earlier this year, he felt the time was right.
He started by trawling through numerous websites, looking for a club which he felt might suit his standard and then began sending countless e-mails to countless clubs hoping for a response.
Initially, Huddersfield YMCA had shown an interest, but then his attentions turned to Huddersfield at Lockwood Park, with McLaren’s research convincing him that North I would be the right level.
So far, that assessment seems spot-on.
He’s fitting in exceptionally well at his new home, and the club are already delighted with the impact he is making.
“It’s so far, so good,” said McLaren, who hails from Ashburton, near Christchurch.
“I obviously did wonder if I was doing the right thing when I flew half way around the world to play in Huddersfield. It was a huge step into the unknown, because I’ve never been to England before.
“I’ve only been here a month, but I already know this is the right club for me.
“I’m enjoying the rugby, I’m enjoying the club and I’m enjoying the company. And, although it’s early days, I think the club are fairly happy with the way I’m playing.
“The standard over here is good, there are no easy games and it’s very competitive. It’s everything I hoped it would be.
“I just hope I can start to give even more to the team in the weeks and months ahead.
“I decided to come now, because at the age of 29 I knew this would be my last chance to give it a go in England.
“At the moment, I’ve no regrets whatsoever about doing it. I just hope that continues.
“As well as getting fixed up at the club, I’ve got fixed up with a job in the electrical trade and I’ve already made a lot of new good friends.
“Any thoughts of returning back home at this stage couldn’t be further from my mind.”