SBW surprises former high school team
Mount Albert Grammar School (MAGS) old boy Sonny Bill Williams surprised his former high school rugby team on Saturday after a big win in Albany.
Williams was on hand to congratulate the MAGS first XV boys after they won their third consecutive annual Blues 10s Tournament at QBE Stadium. The competition was set up by the Blues in 2015 and attracts a number of Auckland’s top high school sides.
MAGS first XV coach Geoff Moon said the school produced a number of prolific rugby stars who always pay homage to the school.
‘‘We have our previous players come back a lot here at MAGS,’’ Moon said.
‘‘We see Steven Luatua a lot as well. It’s just a big part of the culture we’ve created here.’’
Despite the regularity of old boy visits, Williams’ attendance was special and Moon said it was a testament to the All Blacks star’s character.
‘‘SBW is just awesome,’’ he said.
‘‘It just shows the humility of the man and how grounded he is. Nothing has affected him, and it’s sort of what we try and grow at this place.’’
For captain Jack CaseyPickering, seeing a sporting legend was something that provided real inspiration for his teammates.
‘‘Yeah it was quite random how he just popped up,’’ CaseyPickering said.
‘‘But it was cool, a lot of the boys admire him quite a lot. If we get to his standard that would be pretty cool.’’
MAGS went undefeated at the pre-season tournament, with big wins over Whangarei Boys High (54-0), Rangitoto College (70-0), Westlake Boys High (15-7) in the semis, and De La Salle College (13-5) in the final.
While it was nice to lift the trophy, Moon said it wasn’t just about winning.
‘‘For us, it’s a preseason tournament where the boys get to play and express themselves and enjoy it and get their skills going.
‘‘It’s a really positive start for us. We are focusing on our team environment and culture so that we’re strong for when we tour.’’
MAGS won both the 1A Auckland competition and the National First XV Championship last year. As a result of their success, they head to Japan in three weeks time to take part in the Sanix World Secondary Schools Rugby Championship.
The Mount Albert Grammar School first XV rugby team pose with All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams after winning the Blues 10s tournament at QBE Stadium.