Young rugby stars fea­ture in rep teams

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - LAWRENCE GULLERY

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.’’

LAWRENCE GULLERY

Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dents Caine Ho­hepa and Rhys Dick­in­son, se­lected for the Waikato U16s and NZ Har­lequin U17s rugby teams re­spec­tively.

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