SEMISI Masirewa arrived in Waikato by a circuitous route but he feels right at home with family in Morrinsville and his confidence is rising in the red, yellow and black jersey.
Masirewa, 21, was brought back into the Mooloo starting line-up on the left wing yesterday as one of three personnel changes and as part of a major backline reshuffle for this afternoon's NPC premiership match against Auckland at Waikato Stadium.
He initially came to New Zealand from Fiji on a scholarship to Wanganui High School before accepting another scholarship to Feilding High School.
Taranaki were keen to secure his services when he left school but, after spending some time with his uncle and former New Zealand and Fiji sevens star Waisiki Masirewa and his cousins in Morrinsville, he decided Waikato was the place for him.
It was the family ties that clinched it, with his father having died while he was at school in Feilding and his mother and three siblings all still living in Fiji.
Last season Masirewa was on the fringes of the Waikato team but the lack of a work visa meant he could not get a professional contract and he played for the development side instead.
The visa issue was later sorted and after another impressive season for Morrinsville he has quickly made his mark for Waikato, making five appearances so far, including a start against Canterbury.
"I'm starting to get my confidence back up, especially at this level, and my aim is to get into the starting lineup every week, but I'm still working on that," Masirewa said.
He is a natural attacking player and while he plays fullback for his club side admits he doesn't kick much.
"I just love to run."
Waikato head coach John Walters said Masirewa was a hard-working player who they had gradually introduced to the team.
"He's fairly robust in the contact and doesn't mind defence, but that's the worst part of his game, the best part is his attack which is fairly exciting," Walters said.