For the last decade the clearly defined path that connects Solihull to the South Sea Islands has been as productive as it is long.
The much-loved Hese Fakatou showed the way when he remained in the UK after playing for Tonga in the 1999 World Cup.
After a season with Leeds the marauding back-rower moved to Sharmans Cross Road where he stayed for five years and built a reputation as one of the club’s most popular-ever players.
In the intervening years a steady trickle of Fakatou’s compatriots has followed plus the odd Fijian and Cook Islander.
Some, like Leo Halavatau, have made a massive impression on the Birmingham & Solihull faithful while others, such as the frightened little rabbit Suka Hufanga barely registered.
Hufanga, who has gone on to play in two World Cups, the Heineken Cup and Top 14 with Brive in what continues to be an excellent career, appeared in but a handful of games for Bees, when as a very young man he struck former director of rugby Phil Maynard as: “Tired, cold and scared.”
Thankfully Hotili Asi and Aisea Havili, albeit briefly, had rather more productive times at Sharmans Cross Road and the connection continues to this day with Nglau Tau and Semisi Taulava joining Halavatau as the latest of their countrymen to wear the Black and Gold.
Cook Islander Tu Tamarua and Fijians Marika Vakacegu and Akapusi Qera make up a list of respected Pacific islanders who have found themselves plunged into the depths of an English winter.
While Halavatau remains a work in progress since moving to prop, dashing openside Qera probably goes down as the best import to ever play for the club.
The flanker spent a single season with Bees in 2006-7 and put in a string of try-scoring performances so spectacular that Gloucester offered him a contract. He has since become one of the most irresistible ball-carrying forces around.
However, the chat around Damson Park is that the immense frame of Taulava could usurp Qera’s position at the top of the order and if his first two matches are anything to go by, that chatter could be anything but idle.
The 27-year-old has made a devastating impact on Russell Earnshaw’s team and while he has not single-handedly transformed the nature of the B&S pack, his incredible strength and power are a major factor in turning it from powderpuff to punch-packer.
Taulava’s debut against Worcester saw a sequence of Premiership-hardened, experienced forwards bounce off him like a teddy bear trying to stop a bull.
He was just as effective against Nottingham and will no doubt pose London Welsh a few questions.
But it might have been different. After taking a year out of the game to recover from a serious neck injury, the former Taranaki man came to the UK with his English-born wife, Amy.
He spent the end of last season tearing up National Two South with Worthing and was set to join Rotherham when Russell Earnshaw called.
“When I found out Leo was here, without even getting a contract from Rusty I just said ‘I am coming’,” Taulava reveals. “We knew each other when we were ten or 11. We played together in school and played in the national teams at Under 16 and Under 19.
“To play with someone you already know was a big draw for me. Having Leo and Ngalu, you can’t ask for any better introduction.
“Ngalu is a big influence on me and Leo. He has got tons of experience and we are just like sponges, sitting there listening to him talk every night.
“We take all the good stuff and hopefully we can better ourselves with it.”
He bases that opinion not just on the presence of Halavatau and Tau but also on the club’s position in the Championship food-chain.
Bees have the smallest budget in the division and after finishing in the bottom two in three of the last five campaigns, financial gravity suggests they have some serious work to do yet again.
Especially when clubs like Worcester and Welsh share the pitch. Warriors’ resources are probably ten times deeper than Bees.
Taulava likes a fight, though. “I always like the underdogs – even when I was growing up I liked to prove people wrong, I thrive on that sort of challenge.
“We were underdogs against Worcester but we said if we wanted to get out there and show that we could deliver, there was no better day than against Worcester.
“The scoreboard did not reflect the effort we put in and coming out of that game we were quietly confident, we didn’t have any injuries, we made more line-breaks, it was just the small things we needed to tidy up.”
Taulava will be working as hard as any to make sure that happens. The return to fitness of Ross Noonan could allow him to revert back to his preferred back-row slot, whilst also providing the side with a more recognised lineout target.
Whether he has the pace to start every game from No.8, however, remains a decision Earnshaw must take, one made more complicated by the early form of the experienced Mark Hopley.
There is a risk, therefore, Taulava may find himself confined to the role of impact replacement, one he could certainly fulfil but one that might also restrict his chances to become Bees’ best ever South Sea sensation.