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Local rugby players show class

Sam Smith, left, in action for Wairarapa College. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


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Five Wairarapa boys got a taste of what it is like to be a Hurricane during the first week of the school holidays.

Sam Smith [Wairarapa College], Isaac Bracewell [Carterton], Chris Hemi [St Pat’s Silverstream], Rocco Berry [St Pat’s Silverstream] and Caleb Cavubati [Scots College] attended the Hurricanes Under-18 camp in Napier.

Rathkeale College’s Harry McKay was also named in the group, but an injury meant he was forced to withdraw.

Forty-eight players from across the region were selected to attend the camp, where they were put into two teams, named Coles and Perenara.

Over the week they were taught skills around the technical, tactical, physical, nutritional and mental sides of the game, as well as holistic leadership.

New Zealand and Hurricanes age grade selector Stacey Grant said all of the boys had enjoyed a successful camp.

“It’s long, tiring and very taxing on them.

“They all had good camps and their development through that week was huge.”

At the end of the week each team played a game against their equivalent team from the Blues franchise.

Team Perenara lost 14-34 to Blues B and team Coles won 18-10 against Blues A.

Bracewell faced a slightly different challenge to the rest of the group, having been a star performer for Carterton in this year’s Tui Cup competition, and then having to go back to a school environment.

Wairarapa set the standard when it came to fitness testing, with Bracewell earning the best yoyo test score of any back in camp, and Smith the best score of any forward.

Smith’s talent was obvious to those running the camp, and he was named player of the day in the forwards for his efforts in team Perenara’s match.

He was also awarded an Outward Bound Scholarship Leadership award, which is a 21-day experience worth more than $6000.

Grant said Smith had a big future ahead of him.

“The big thing around Outward Bound is it’s the person who has shown the coaches, selectors and trainers that they could improve their leadership with this reward.

“Everyone was quite impressed with Sam over the week – he captains Wairarapa College but I think he’ll grow even more out of it, moving forward.”

The players were afforded every luxury the Hurricanes players are given while in camp, and it provided a taste of what a professional rugby career could be like.

The group now have the chance to push for selection in three national teams – New Zealand Secondary Schools, New Zealand Schools Barbarians and New Zealand Maori Under-18s.

“It’s not always how you go at camp, it’s how you leave camp and work over the next month,” Grant said.

“A lot of franchise people are watching these games because they’re looking for the next cattle, and we’ve got one of the best cattle yards in the country.”

Grant said they owed a big thanks to Eastwood Motor Group for helping get the boys to camp.

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