Tal­ent recog­nised in Toko­roa touch

South Waikato News - - SPORT - By PET­RICE TARRANT

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.

Pho­tos: RACHAEL PARKER

Speedy drop: Pa­trick Rus­sel does a quick drop to make yards.

Quick feet: Quinzel Cody from the Un­der­21s tears away from the line.

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