Lewis Bush [ball carrier], Bryan Arnold [second from right] and Moo Moo Falaniko [right] have been named in the Hurricanes Heartland Under-20 squad. PHOTO/KYLIE ALEXANDER

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

The strong performances of the Wairarapa-Bush Under-20s over the past couple of weeks was reflected in the naming of the Hurricanes Heartland Under-20 team.

Wairarapa-Bush finished as runners-up at the Heartland Under-20 regional tournament after beating Poverty Bay [57-5] and Wanganui [31-15], but losing to eventual winners Horowhenua-Kapiti [19-27].

At the conclusion of the tournament, the Hurricanes Heartland Under-20 team to contest the Central Region Shield competition was named.

Wairarapa-Bush had the most players named in the team with 10, while Horowhenua-Kapiti [seven], Wanganui [four] and Poverty Bay [two] players were also included.

Greytown front-rower Lewis Bush was one of the 10 Wairarapa-Bush players named in the squad, and said being named in the team was a “privilege”.

“It’s going to be good with the coaches they’ve got – they’re really good coaches and one [Dan Cron] is the scrum coach for the Hurricanes so it will be great to learn from them.

“It will be a big learning curve for us.”

The Central Region Shield is contested between the under-19 teams from Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu and Wellington, as well as the Heartland Under-20 team.

Bush said getting a win over Wanganui had given the Wairarapa-Bush players plenty of confidence, and he was hopeful they could take that form into the Heartland environment.

“It was good to get a win against Wanganui over there – I haven’t heard of a Wairarapa-Bush team knocking over Wanganui for a long time.

“It’s good to see a lot of talent coming through from Wairarapa and getting called up.”

Bush attended St Pat’s Silverstream in Wellington through his secondary school years, before returning to the Greytown Rugby Club last year.

He played his JAB rugby for Greytown, and had no hesitation returning to the club.

“It’s been really good to come back – it’s a really friendly environment.

“But it was great in Wellington as well because you meet new people and all that.”

The Hurricanes Heartland Under-20s will play their first Central Region Shield match this Saturday against Manawatu in Palmerston North.

The weekend’s other match will have Wellington take on Hawke’s Bay on Sunday in Wellington.

The second and third rounds of matches will be played over the following two weekends respectively.

“We’ll get together on Friday and have a training on Friday afternoon, and then the game on Saturday,” Bush said.

“My main goal is to gain knowledge from the coaches – especially position-specific stuff around scrummaging and lineouts.”

The Wairarapa-Bush players in the Hurricanes Heartland Under-20 squad are: Bryan Arnold, Finn Yeats, Isaac Bracewell, Jack Loader, Jeramiah Mapusua, Joseph Gordan, Lewis Bush, Matt Masoe, Moo Moo Falaniko, Sam Siaosi.

Meanwhile, two Wairarapa people will continue their association with the New Zealand Heartland Under-19 team that will contest the Jock Hobbs National Under-19 tournament in Taupo next month.

Gavin Hodder will return as team manager, while physio Davide Castorina will also join the team once again.