Young rugby stars feature in rep teams
Two Matamata College rugby players will be hoping to emulate their idols Brad Webber and Ben Tameifuna when they step on to the field in their respective representative teams.
Halfback Rhys Dickinson was selected for the NZ Harlequin U17s team while his college 1st XV team mate, prop Caine Hohepa is staring for the Waikato U16s team.
Year 13 student Dickinson said the college 1st XV team recorded mixed results this year but performed well considering it had moved up a grade from last season.
‘‘We started off having a few preseason games, with a few wins and losses and in the proper season we came fourth overall.’’
Dickinson said the hard slog of the 1st XV season had set up him well for his stint five-game stint with the Harlequins.
‘‘We started training in the last holidays and our first game was against Taranaki away, [Inglewood] which we won 31-18.’’
The team played a NZ Areas Schools at its home ground, St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton, on September 3.
It will have three more games including a match against Northland, at St Paul’s, on September 10; Thames Valley in Matamata on September 14 (7pm); King Country, at St Paul’s on September 24 (1pm).
Dickinson said his favourite player was Waikato Chiefs halfback Brad Webber followed closely by the team’s fullback, Damian McKenzie.
‘‘I like them probably because they’re small, but still know how to rip up the field.
‘‘But for now, I’m just looking to build my skills with this [Harlequins] team and learn what I can from the coaches. I want to learn about different styles of play, more about leadership.’’
Next year Dickinson hopes to move into a building apprenticeship while still keeping a hand in sport, looking for selection in other Waikato rugby teams.
It was Caine Hohepa’s first year in the college’s 1st XV team, taking the big step up from the under 15s team last season.
‘‘Making the 1st XV was pretty good, it’s a different level of rugby compared to last year.’’
Hohepa plays both tigh-head and lose-head prop and his favourite player is former Chiefs prop, Ben Tameifuna.
Hohepa also plays rugby league for a club in Hamilton where he slots in at prop or second row.
But rugby union is definitely his first choice and he’s looking forward to learning more about the game with the Waikato U17s team.
The team defeated King Country 38-0 on August 27 and was to play Taranaki in New Ply- mouth on September 3.
There will also be matched against Counties-Manukau on September 10 (away); Thames Valley on September 17 (St Paul’s) and Bay of Plenty on September 28 (Waikato Stadium).
‘‘It’s just great meeting new people in the team and learning new skills so I can improve. I just want to enjoy playing, showing my style of rugby.’’
Matamata College students Caine Hohepa and Rhys Dickinson, selected for the Waikato U16s and NZ Harlequin U17s rugby teams respectively.