Ryan Hargood on the attack for Marist against Carterton. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

JAKE BELESKI

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It was meant to be a dream debut for Wairarapa-Bush, but now Ryan Hargood isn’t sure if he will get the chance to pull the jersey on at all.

Hargood, 18, was named in the reserves for today’s clash with South Canterbury in Timaru, but was withdrawn from the squad on Wednesday because of eligibility issues surrounding his age.

Being 18 years old means he would need written approval from New Zealand Rugby to play in a Heartland match, something that was not sorted out in time for him to participate in the match.

Hargood, who plays hooker for Marist in the Wairarapa-Bush club rugby competition, said it was disappointing to be named and then have the jersey snatched away at the last moment, and is now wondering if he might have missed his chance.

“I got named to go down south this week but then they must’ve realised.

“I asked the management to sort it out but I’m not too worried now — it’s probably the last game next week.”

There is a chance he could get the call-up for that match next week against West Coast in Masterton, and if he does there could be no arguing that it was well deserved.

He was originally expecting to play against Horowhenua-Kapiti in Wellington last weekend, but missed out when another player recovered from injury just in time.

“He had a niggle but pulled through on the day,” Hargood said.

“I’ve been watching them (Wairarapa-Bush) since I was younger, but even two years ago I was wondering if I would ever get the chance to play for them.

“It was pretty crazy making the squad as an 18-year-old.”

A move to Wellington to work and play premier club rugby is on the cards in 2018, which could push him further away from claiming the elusive jersey.

“There’s a premier team down there that needs a starting hooker, so I’m looking to go over and work and play club rugby there.

“So I guess it really depends if I stay around or not.”

Despite the emotional roller coaster he has endured over the last couple of weeks, Hargood was delighted with how the 2017 season had unfolded.

The club season with Marist had “heaps of ups and downs”, but he also made the Hurricanes Under-20 Heartland squad, and the national Heartland Under-19 team.

“It was a really professional environment — you had to take your notebook and pen, and make sure you were hydrating on water.

“It’s like being in a professional team for a week, and shows you what you have to do if you get into the professional levels.”