Belfast Telegraph

Triggs hints he may end up in the Northern hemisphere

By Cian Tracey

Hayden Triggs isn't quite ready to tell us where his next destination lies, but you get the impression that the passion with which he speaks about playing rugby in this part of the world means he won't be veering too far from these shores.

The signing of Scott Fardy will almost certainly signal the end of Triggs' two-year stay at Leinster, but it has been one that has opened his eyes to a world outside of the relentless demands of the New Zealand public.

Apart from a three-year stint in Japan, in which he didn't feature all that regularly, Triggs has played all of his rugby in his home country.

The northern hemisphere tends to put Super Rugby on a pedestal, and more times than not for good reason, but it's a feeling that is not always reciprocated.

The notion from our southern neighbours is that the ball is kicked too often in these parts, but Triggs disagrees especially after being glued to the Six Nations for the last couple of months.

"I loved it," the 35-year-old enthuses. "I read the criticism down home because they have Super Rugby, but they probably only have four or five teams that play good rugby down there.

"You look at the crowds. For me the number one judge is the international stadiums in four different countries sold out every single weekend.

"They got 100 minutes' worth of rugby at the weekend (France versus Wales), that's value for money! There's too much criticism from down south and I'm sure the coaches down there would not have a problem watching Six Nations rugby.

"It's intense. It's a real supporter's game and the crowd's are right into it. Because there's not 40 points being scored it's considered a kick-fest, so it just shows me you got to be good to score tries. The defence up here has probably dominated the Six Nations this year, so probably for the tournament's sake the best defensive team won.

"I don't want to criticise Super Rugby, but everything I hear and read is directed towards the northern hemisphere, but by the crowd numbers, they seem to be doing alright."

Triggs has played for both the Highlanders and the Hurricanes and with the latter winning their first ever Super Rugby title last season, you would have been forgiven for thinking that there would be an added buzz in Wellington.

Yet, when the two teams met last weekend in a New Zealand derby, the empty seats inside the Westpac stadium were glaring.

"The Hurricanes play amazing rugby so how is that not full?" Triggs asks.

"The Kiwi public is probably too bandwagonish I guess. If they make the semis, or finals it will be full, but up until then it is just the loyal die-hards every week. But the Irish and English supporters are there."

The loyal fan base in the northern hemisphere is one of the major aspects that Triggs has relished over the last two years, which leads you to believe he will be looking for a swansong somewhere nearby.

"For me personally, there is nothing finalised," he added.

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