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Jason aims to be big Hita
February 2, 2000

Kiwi centre Jason Tamati Hita has only one reason for joining Edinburgh Reivers he wants to play for Scotland.

The 25-year-old New Zealander signed for the Reivers on a short-term contract until the end of the season after turning down the chance to appear in a trial game for the Auckland Blues Super 12 outfit.

Hita, who qualifies for Scotland through his Glasgow-born grandmother, switched codes from rugby league in 1994 where he had toured Britain as a member of the Junior Kiwis.

Since turning to the 15-man game, the Whangerai-born player has turned out for the prestigious Northland club and is now taking advantage of the International Rugby Board eligibility laws to follow the likes of new skipper John Leslie into the Scotland side.

"I want to play strong and hard for Edinburgh Reivers and maybe Scotland A will see me as a prospect," said Hita.

"With a couple of injuries you never know what might happen. It sounds ruthless but you have to be in this world."

Reivers have spent the last three weeks searching for a replacement for Alan Tait, who announced his retirement last month.

Their initial search took them to England, only to learn that there was no facility for the cross-border loan deal they were looking for.

"It is very easy to see games played in other countries nowadays and we have built up a useful network of contacts all over the world," said coach Ian Rankin.

"The guy has got good physical attributes and has pace.

"He has played at a high level and is the type of player were are looking to bring into the squad."

If Hita does achieve his ambition of winning international honours for Scotland, he will be following a well trodden path.

Of the 23-man party who will fly out to Italy for the Six Nations opener in Rome on Saturday, five were born in New Zealand.

Hita has played provincial rugby against new national captain John Leslie as his success, as well as Glenn Metcalfe and the skipper's brother Martin, left the centre in no doubt where his best prospects lie.

"I always knew the qualification was there but in the last year or so I have thought more about it," he said.

"It is not just a case of coming to play in Scotland. There is a lot of pride in your heritage and I want to become a success here."

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