Sam Smith, left, and Isaac Bracewell. scored tries in Maori Under-20s win over Fiji. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Two former Wairarapa College First XV players made an impact in their international debuts last Saturday.
Flanker Sam Smith and halfback Isaac Bracewell came on as substitutes for the New Zealand Maori Under-20s in their match against Fiji Under-20s in Rotorua.
Smith, who won the Wairarapa Youth Sports Personality of the Year award last month, came off the bench after 25 minutes and scored two tries in the 48-31 victory.
Bracewell came on early in the second half and crossed for a try.
Both players are training with the Wellington Rugby Academy.
Smith and Bracewell weren’t the only Wairarapa connection with the Maori Under-20 side.
Stacey Grant was assistant coach and Kieran Te Whare was the team’s trainer.
Grant said Smith and Bracewell acquitted themselves well in the week-long build-up to the Fiji game.
“The team got together for a week and trained with the Maori All Blacks and also reconnected with their Maori culture.
“They will have the Jocks Hobbs development tournament coming up and they’re on the pathways for the New Zealand Under-20 team. It gives them a good head start – that’s the biggest benefit.”
Two other Wairarapa players, Waicol loose forward Tama Bartlett and Pioneer prop Waylon Mason, were involved in the Under-18 camp also held through the week. Their team held on to beat Fiji Under-18s 20-15.