Toko­roa boys show colours

South Waikato News - - SPORT - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

It was a proud mo­ment for young rugby play­ers Matthew Le­toga and Karly Karuna who rep­re­sented Toko­roa in a Waikato jersey once again.

The tal­ented duo have played for Waikato in the past few years and de­buted in the Waikato Un­der 16 squad on Satur­day.

Le­toga, 15, and Karuna, 16, are the only South Waikato play­ers in this year’s 23-player team.

The process may be fa­mil­iar but this time round was more ‘‘ex­cit­ing’’.

‘‘I’m still a bit scared be­cause I’m still young be­cause of the age dif­fer­ence,’’ Le­toga said.

He said their se­lec­tion meant they had reached a more ad­vanced level.

For both of the tal­ented play­ers their goal was to wear the Chiefs jersey and one day play as an All Black.

They shared the same goals but en­tered the game for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

A 101kg back, Le­toga said his dad wanted him to pur­sue the sport.

At 85kg and in the for­wards, Karuna said he was in­spired by a dif­fer­ent fam­ily mem­ber.

‘‘It was my un­cle be­cause he’s been through all the same stages.’’

Now the two high school stu­dents do not know what life would be like with­out the sport.

Coach War­ren Hodges said about 75 stu­dents from Waikato were nom­i­nated.

Hodges said the two were picked for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

‘‘He’s [Matthew] got another year . . . we wanted the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop him, he’s got some raw tal­ent. Karly’s multi-tal­ented and can play dif­fer­ent po­si­tions,’’ he said.

Hodges said it was good to see play­ers from the dis­trict in the team.

‘‘It’s al­ways go­ing to be harder for the South Waikato be­cause of num­bers.’’

Kick­ing off: Karly Ka­rauna, front, and Matthew Le­toga kicked off for another sea­son in one of Waikato’s squad.

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