WITH his first full school term nearly under his belt, Fiji legend Nicky Little is feeling at home in his new Canterbury surroundings.
The all-time leading points scorer for the South Pacific island, and one of a handful of stars to play at four Rugby World Cups, started his job as director of rugby at Simon Langton School, and Canterbury High School at the beginning of the summer in a role that also links in Canterbury Rugby Club.
The flyhalf's career on the pitch came to an end last season as he played in the Championship for Esher, after returning from the world cup in New Zealand where he grew up.
Before then he'd toured the Continent playing for Saracens and Bath, while also turning out for sides in Italy and France.
He then got in touch with the Rugby Players' Association who helped him get the coaching certificates which he proudly displays at his desk.
Although his job might be a coach, he's adamant the title doesn't fit in with his ethos.
"I still don't want to be a coach, I want to be a friend of whoever's underneath me, a friend who tells them shortcuts," said Little.
"I want to keep rugby fun, I'm hoping people are learning and having fun rather than just learning because they have to - that's my plan.
"I would just like the guys I'm in touch with to enjoy rugby, pursue it if they want, even if they don't go pro, just go down to their local club and enjoy it.
"Because my job has been professional, churning and grinding every week, I have never wanted to be a coach to win. Winning rugby is generally about percentages, kicking corners and crushing opponents to death rather than playing like Fiji.
"We (Fiji) would rather try to score 10 tries and lose 3-0. People come to watch that. If you want to win and go pro, there's a way, but it's not the only way. There's no right or wrong way.
"I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but if they come to me and ask how to do things I will tell them.
"I had a game for Canterbury thirds two weeks ago, it was the best time of my rugby life in 15 years, it was fun."
Coaching hadn't been the aim but after going on the courses he found it the perfect match: "I went onto the courses thinking 'who cares about this?' But then I opened my mind. After the first session I said to the guy 'I have never learnt so much'. After that I was really impressed with my two teachers.
"There's lots of old boys out there like me who are trying to find work, and who's going to spend money on dumb rugby players like me? I'm lucky that this worked out and I'm loving it so far. I'm coaching rugby and weights all week, I'm not saving the world here.
"There's always pressure to perform, but nowhere near that of a pro sports person. That is the number one factor why old guys like myself from rugby go into these teaching jobs.
"I watch TV and see all my old mates still doing it and I think 'I'm so glad I'm not a part of that any more'. I know nothing is permanent, but a permanent job is the hook."
Growing up in New Zealand, a rugby ball was put in his hands from an early age. The fact his uncles were pro players helped, as did having All Blacks legend Eric Rush as a regular visitor to the house.
"New Zealand is rugby mad, you don't have a choice," he said. "It's just what you learn. I remember wrestling with uncles in the lounge and smashing windows, isn't that everyone else's experience too?"
He said he felt there are too many egos in the professional game at present, and he's happy to be one of the good guys.
"Who cares if I have or haven't won the World Cup, I'm proud of being one of the good guys I suppose," he said.
"It's no good if you've won the World Cup and you're drinking by yourself. We've seen the superstars come and go."