Young stars on radar

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

Se­lec­tion onto the Otago team that won the re­cent South Is­land Pri­mary Schools Rugby Tour­na­ment was thrill enough for Clyde school-boy Midge van Box­tel. But get­ting a call-up to rep­re­sent his re­gion in the South Is­land un­der-14 rugby com­pe­ti­tion at Waikiwi near In­ver­cargill last Satur­day capped it off. Ini­tially se­lected for Cen­tral, one of the three Otago sub-re­gions along with South West and Metro, the 13-year-old was the only Cen­tral Otago and Queen­stown Lakes player on the Otago un­der-65kg team for the pres­ti­gious South Is­land an­nual weight-grade event at Lin­coln near Christchurch. Otago not only won the fi­nal against Can­ter­bury Coun­try, but the ref­eree’s fair play award. The team mem­bers in­cluded the only girl player, Isla Pringle, of Clutha Val­ley, along with Reon Low­ery of Owaka, Josh Stuff of Taeri, and Jack Cle­ment, Char­lie Baker and James Te Paira, all from Dunedin. Otago Rugby Football Union de­vel­op­ment man­ager Ja­son Macdon­ald said many of the re­gion’s top rep­re­sen­ta­tive play­ers be­gan their ca­reers in the un­der-48kg and un­der-65kg weight grades to ‘‘get in the sys­tem’’. Otago’s un­der-48kg team was run­ner-up in the fi­nal against Nel­son Bays at Lin­coln, and also won the Fair Play award for its grade, with Cen­tral Otago well rep­re­sented by Bray­den Laing, who plays for Clyde Earn­scle­ugh, Mark McCor­mack (Man­iototo), Cam Par­nell (Ar­row­town), Dun­can Dykes (Alexan­dra), Max Dun­can – who is a year 8 at Roxburgh Area School, but played his rugby sea­son for the Dun­stan High School un­der-14 team, and Joseph Wil­son and Fin­lay No­let (Up­per Clutha). No­let also made the un­der-48kg South Is­land team.

Photo: JOHN HAWKINS/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Ris­ing force: Midge van Box­tel of Cen­tral Otago was called into the Otago Coun­try U14 rugby side for the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rugby Tour­na­ment against Can­ter­bury at Waikiwi grounds in In­ver­cargill. Al­though Otago Coun­try lost all three matches, van Box­tel said it was a buzz to play at such a big com­pe­ti­tion.

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