Teen fills big boots, thanks to gift

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - JARED NICOLL

‘‘If it keeps him in the game, that’s the most im­por­tant thing.’’

A Porirua teenager’s wish to play rugby for his col­lege has come true af­ter an anony­mous donor stepped in with a pair of size 16 boots.

Aotea Col­lege year 12 stu­dent James Pow­ell, 16, was keen to join the sec­ond XV team af­ter the sum­mer lawn bowls sea­son came to a close.

But he could not find big enough boots in time, so he started turn­ing up to train­ing in sports sneak­ers.

‘‘I was ac­tu­ally go­ing to try squeez­ing into my brother’s size 14s,’’ said James, who is 1.93 me­tres (al­most 6ft 4in) tall, and plays prop and lock for Aotea.

‘‘It’s re­ally hard to find them. Nor­mally they go up to about 14, maybe 15. Some­times you have to order on­line.’’

The donor, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied, sur­prised him with a new pair of Adi­das boots – as long as some peo­ple’s fore­arms – along with a sports bag and some other gear at an af­ter-school train­ing on Tues­day.

‘‘They’re awe­some,’’ James said. ’’Ab­so­lutely awe­some.’’

The donor wished him well with the sea­son ahead.

‘‘If it keeps him in the game, that’s the most im­por­tant thing.’’

North­ern United rugby club so­cial me­dia guru Ali­son Scott, who has a son in first XV at Aotea Col­lege, asked for help on the team’s Face­book page from any­one who had se­cond­hand or new size 16 boots.

‘‘And we had an amaz­ing re­sponse: exAotea Col­lege stu­dents wanted to help out, and Norths sup­port­ers,’’ Scott said.

‘‘So we had al­ready picked up a se­cond­hand pair when this of­fer came in.’’

The do­na­tion echoes that of All Black Luke Ro­mano, who gave some of his size-16 boots to Lin­wood Col­lege prop Adonai Sch­wenke, 16, in Christchurch a year ago. James’ coach Kane Moko- moko, who has been vol­un­teer­ing with North­ern United for 25 years, said he could not re­call an­other boy with boots that big at only 16.

Pow­ell had a lot of po­ten­tial as a prop, but would prob­a­bly play lock on Satur­day against St Patrick’s Col­lege Sil­ver­stream third XV, Mokomoko said.

PHO­TOS: JARED NICOLL/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Aotea Col­lege sec­ond XV player James Pow­ell, 16, in his new boots. Left, a pair of size 10s are dwarfed by James’ size 16s.

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