Rugby: Tanerau Latimer on kiwifruit orchards, Mitre 10 Cup and Maori All Blacks return

The Mitre 10 Cup is the breeding ground for young talent, but there's also a place for the stars of old.

Thomas Waldrom, Brendon Leonard and Tanerau Latimer have all returned from lucrative offshore deals to inject experience into provincial rugby.

But for Bay of Plenty skipper Latimer, this season may not be his swansong.

Latimer's used to hard work, having played professional rugby for 14 years, but he's more familiar with packing down a scrum than a plant.

A kiwifruit orchard is all part of the 32-year-old's retirement plan and he is learning fast that it is hard yakka.

"Getting sore backs and sore necks, but those old-time orchardists will probably have a chuckle, thinking, 'here we go, whose this old prima donna'," Latimer told Newshub.

The former All Black flanker thought his rugby career was over when he moved his family back from France.

That was until Bay of Plenty coach Clayton McMillan called.

He said, 'you wana play bro?', I said 'ok yup, sweet.' He said, 'this year', I was like 'ohhh heck'.

The phone hasn't stopped ringing, with Chiefs assistant Tabai Matson enquiring about Latimer's interest in taking up a mentoring role at the Super Rugby franchise.

But the back-to-back Super Rugby champion is not ruling out a return to the international stage as a player with the Maori All Blacks.

"My former club Bayonne, they've got a couple of Chilean boys in there and think we're playing Chile," he said.

"They said, 'you've got to get on that one, old boy', so we will wait and see. Like I said, we'll never say never.

He may call himself 'koro', but Latimer insists he still has life left in his legs.

"So I did a Bronco the other day [with his children] and I was up there, but that's when I clocked out because the calf got tight, so I'd done my day's work," he said.

Maybe on the rugby field, but he's got a new day job and work on the orchard never stops.