Plaskett proud to play for Waitaha
Rangiora’s Ethan Plaskett is in his fifth season playing for the Canterbury-Waitaha Ma¯ori rugby team.
Not a bad effort for a player who didn’t think he was ‘‘Ma¯ori enough to be eligible’’.
Plaskett (Ngai Tahu) started out his rugby journey playing for Ashley. After a couple of season for the Rangiora 1st XV, he played for Saracens for three years before moving to Christchurch and joined the Christchurch Rugby Club in 2011.
‘‘My nana is the most involved in passing on the heritage and we also had a lot of family gettogethers so I knew I was Ma¯ori,’’ Plaskett said.
‘‘ I didn’t know I was eligible to play though until Kahu [Carey], who was coaching the team at the time, asked me. I had no idea so he found out.’’
The 25-year-old diesel mechanic, who plays as a loose forward but can also slot in at hooker said it is probably a similar story for a lot of players, that know they have some Ma¯ori ancestry, and even some who have no idea.
Within the team environment, Plaskett said there is a focus on heritage and culture, as well as winning games.
Waitaha advanced to their sec- ond straight promotion-relegation game courtesy of a bonus point in their 17-22 loss to Tasman Red Devils in Blenheim, following a win over Southland B.
‘‘It was lucky in Blenheim that while we weren’t up to scratch we managed to pick up a bonus point we needed.’’
Waitaha took out the promotion-relegation match against Canterbury Country 29-17 at Mandeville on Saturday.
Country took an early 3-0 lead with a Brook Retallick penalty before Waitaha went on the charge to storm out to a 29-3 lead.
Country fought back with tries to Leonard Van der Velde and Hadrian Jackson, both converted by Retallick, but the come back fell short.
‘‘We put it all together when we really needed.
‘‘We slacked off a bit towards the end but held it together enough to get the result’’
The win earns Waitaha a place in the Premiership next season along side Tasman Griffins –winners of their second premiership title in three years–, Canterbury Metro and Otago B. Country drops down to the Championship with Southland B and the Tasman Red Devils.
There is still taonga at stake with two games left in their season. Waitaha will meet Te Upoko o Te Ika Wellington Ma¯ori for the Tirikatene Shield at Linfield Park on September 23.
They then face Southland Ma¯ori a week later.
Earlier this year, Waitaha defended the taonga at the Te Waipounamu South Island Maori rugby tournament in Timaru.
Ethan Plaskett (top right) and the Canterbury-Waitaha Ma¯ori celebrates their win over Canterbury Country.