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Touring side provides test for Waicol

A San Patricio player on the attack against Morrinsville College. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


By Jake Beleski

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Wairarapa College’s first XV will get to test their skills against unknown opposition today when a visiting Argentinian side comes to Masterton.

San Patricio Rugby Club, from Corrientes in north-eastern Argentina, are an under-18 side on a trip designed to provide a cultural and rugby experience.

One of the team’s coaches, Kim Harris, is an ex-Gisborne Boys’ High School coach.

He said the team greatly admired New Zealand as a country and sporting nation and were keen to absorb some of the New Zealand ethos.

“We will see three Super Rugby games on tour, visit Rotorua for some adventure and experience the real New Zealand of the country areas where so many of our best players grow up.

“The team had the pleasure of a run under ex-All Blacks’ assistant coach Ross Cooper on Tuesday in Waihi.”

The tour encompasses Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa, Auckland and Counties.

Waicol’s head of rugby, Ryan Southey, said it was a great opportunity and experience for the school’s first XV.

“They’re visiting the country . . . they’re here for a couple of weeks and going to several schools and we’re on their itinerary.”

Having an international team visit was a rare occurrence for the school, he said.

“It’s the first time I can think of we’ve had a visiting international school.

“The first XV do go to Australia every couple of years to the Gold Coast to play some schools there, but it’s quite a coup for us to have an Argentinian team here.”

The San Patricio team arrived in Masterton on Thursday night, and Southey said they would be billeted out among the Waicol players, with some staying in the school’s hostel.

Today’s match will offer a different test to what they are likely to come up against during the local secondary school season.

“Having seen their team list there’s a couple of 140kg guys on there, so that’ll be interesting,” Southey said.

“I’m glad we’re playing on the artificial and not on our field at the moment.”

The match is scheduled to kickoff at Memorial Park at 11am.

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