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Timani gets up to speed for Tahs before flight to France

"I'm enjoying the football, as a group we had a slow start and now we realise how we're going to play to keep the season going": Timani.

"I'm enjoying the football, as a group we had a slow start and now we realise how we're going to play to keep the season going": Timani. Photo: Getty Images

After a self-described "slow start" and a battle to improve his fitness, Test second-rower Sitaleki Timani is enjoying his rugby at the new look Waratahs.

He is back in the starting side and has his head around the different demands on the Waratahs back row. Less pick and go, more moving the ball wide. And a whole lot of running.

"I'm enjoying the football, as a group we had a slow start and now we realise how we're going to play to keep the season going," Timani said. "For me I think I've had a slow start but every game I think I'm getting better and better, trying to pick up our way of playing and how we play as a team."

But while the football is starting to click in NSW and the British and Irish Lions are skulking towards Australian shores, none of it will be enough to keep Timani from taking up a three-year deal with French club Montpellier later this year. That deal, it is understood, has been done for some time.

And while Timani himself is taking life "week by week" at the moment – a smart approach under a coach as demanding as Michael Cheika – Australian fans of the destructive second-rower should prepare to say their goodbyes.

It is understood there has been no agreement on when the ARU might release the towering Tongan but a departure following the Rugby Championship is on the cards. If Wallabies coach Robbie Deans decides he needs Timani a little longer, an October date could be pushed for to ensure his availability for the final Bledisloe Test. Either way Timani, 26, will join his brother Sione in France, where the elder sibling has signed with Agen.

In the meantime, Timani is hoping to get the most out of his body for NSW and get back to 80 minute performances. He played the full match against the Blues, a three-point victory for NSW, but dropped back to 57 minutes against the Force and played no more than 50 minutes in any of the preceding games. Timani also fell victim to the coach's axe, being named on the bench in round three before an injury ruled him out completely.

"I think it was the pre-season, because we came back late [into the] pre-season and it was hard to pick up the way we play," he said.

Like many of his forward pack team mates, Timani also discovered the same old routine would not fly under Cheika.

"We have to be fit," Timani said. "It's more running in games. I'm getting there, [the forwards] are enjoying that and especially since we're getting the ball out wide more, instead of pick and go. I prefer getting the ball a bit wider ... and the tight stuff as well."

Prop Sekope Kepu went through a similar transition. Fitness was less of an issue but the regular Wallabies starter was asked to produce more. He was also grappling with decisions about his playing future at the same time as his wife gave birth to their third child, Isaiah.

"I spoke with Cheika a few weeks ago and he wanted me to work on my strengths, to be dynamic out there and just impose myself," Kepu said after being named to start against the Hurricanes on Saturday.

"I guess as much as your body wants to do so many things, mentally you could say you were a little bit off."

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG -1vs FJI -1 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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