NZ Rugby World - First XV - - WELLINGTON -

Of last year’s squad Welling­ton Col­lege have en­dured three ma­jor losses. Half­back and cap­tain Ke­mara Hauiti-Para­para, who is also a tal­ented soft­ball pitcher, has left school and is now in the Welling­ton Un­der 20s. Dual vice cap­tains Jimmy He­witt, the open­side flanker who con­verted to solve a mid­field cri­sis last year, and hooker Si­tiveni Paongo have also de­parted. From a lead­er­ship per­spec­tive, the trio will take some re­plac­ing. But with 12 re­turn­ing play­ers they are keen to shake o a dis­ap­point­ing pe­riod and march back into con­tention. With ex­pe­ri­ence comes con­fi­dence; that’s the hope of coach Lin­coln Rawles, who be­lieves many of those play­ers will ben­e­fit from be­ing blooded ear­lier than ex­pected. Last year Col lost too many close games and they must learn to con­vert pres­sure into points which es­sen­tially boils down to bet­ter de­ci­sion mak­ing. That, in turn, al­lows you to close out matches. Their area of strength will be in the tight five which now boasts ex­pe­ri­ence and size not seen in re­cent sea­sons.

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