Kelly Haimona insists he will be taking the lessons learned in the Guinness PRO12 away with him, after the Kiwi-born fly-half announced his departure from Zebre.
The 29-year-old is returning to the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union this summer, having notched up 29 appearances in a Zebre jersey over three seasons.
Haimona helped Zebre finish above Italian rivals Benetton Treviso for the first time in four years last term, scoring tries against eventual champions Connacht and then on his final appearance for the club in the 47-22 win over Newport Gwent Dragons on the final day of the Guinness PRO12 season.
He also won 11 caps for the Italian national team during his time in Parma, and after agreeing to return to Bay of Plenty Steamers and Whakarewarewa – the side he left in 2011 – Haimona admits nature of Italian rugby has taught him a lot.
“Home is always home, and the last six years I have been missing it a lot. The opportunity came up to come home and I took it with both hands,” he told Bay of Plenty's official website.
“It was a different experience playing in Italy. Rugby is very different over there it is very forward orientated and I had to adapt to the style and more or less the culture they played.
“I learned a lot from my experience over there and hopefully I can bring that into the mix here.
“Definitely the squad has changed a lot since I was last here in 2008, there is a good feeling amongst the team and we are looking to achieve big things.
“We have some young players and together it will be a great season ahead of us.”
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