Talent recognised in Tokoroa touch
After an outstanding performance at the Maori Touch Nationals, four keen Tokoroa players have been selected for the New Zealand Maori Mixed Open touch team.
Sean McKain, Leleina Tolovae, Baldy Neho and Chanelle Rata will play against the New Zealand Touch mixed open team in October 2014.
Sean will have a tough decision to make as he has been selected for both top sides.
The talented four were part of Tokoroa’s top Ngati Raukawa ki Waikato team that entered the touch nationals last weekend.
Coach A J Purnell said the team lost to their opponent by one point in what was a nail-biting final.
In their round robin against Ngati Raukawa ki Runga, Mr Purnell’s team got blitzed 7-2. But it was a different story in the final, he said.
They have lost to the same mesh of players for the past four years.
‘‘But we’ll get there, we’ll knock that team over one day,’’ he said.
With 73 teams entered, second place is nothing to be ashamed of, but Mr Purnell said his players remember what it was like to take the win.
His open team consists of the same players who won the Under-21 division for seven years in a row.
‘‘We’ve been bridesmaids for four years, we’re just trying to get that legacy back.’’
Ngati Raukawa ki Waikato entered three teams in the competition.
Mr Purnell said it was great exposure for the younger players.
He said the support from friends and whanau was huge, helping to transport 45 players up to Hopuhopu for the two-day tournament.
The backing from community businesses including Stairmand Law, Hale Logging and Random Riders was much appreciated too, he said.
Speedy drop: Patrick Russel does a quick drop to make yards.
Quick feet: Quinzel Cody from the Under21s tears away from the line.