Levin re­cruit proves worth

The Horowhenua Mail - - SPORT - LO­GAN SA­VORY

Former New Zealand sec­ondary school rugby league rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lio Tosi has stood out in his in­tro­duc­tion to South­land rugby.

At 128 kilo­grams and over 190 cen­time­tres tall, it is hard for the 18-year-old not to cap­ture some at­ten­tion.

Tosi has made the shift south this year from Ro­torua where he has linked with the Rugby South­land academy and hopes to progress through the ranks in the deep south.

Orig­i­nally from Levin, Tosi was of­fered a schol­ar­ship by Ro­torua Boys’ High School to head north for his Year 11 year at school.

He spent three years in the school’s first XV, which in­cluded help­ing them win the Chiefs re­gional sec­ondary schools com­pe­ti­tion in 2015.

Last sea­son they were top­pled by Hamil­ton Boys’ High School in the semi­fi­nals.

Dur­ing his school days, he also cap­tured the in­ter­est of na­tional rugby league tal­ent scouts and played for both the New Zealand sec­ondary schools and un­der-16 teams against New South Wales.

Tosi hasn’t ruled out pick­ing up the 13-man code again, but for the moment his fo­cus was very much on rugby and at­tempt­ing to make a mark in South­land.

‘‘I want to one day be­come a Stag. But re­ally at the moment I just want to play good footy down here.’’

Rugby South­land has de­vel­oped a link with Ro­torua Boys’ High School with Tosi one of three play­ers to shift south this year to play their first sea­son of se­nior rugby.

The other two are fron­trow­ers, Sy Waiti and Jaya More, who have linked with the Star and Bar­bar­ians clubs, re­spec­tively.

Tosi has slot­ted into the No 8 role for Marist.

Af­ter four weeks of the com­pe­ti­tion, it is a de­ci­sion he is de­lighted he made.

‘‘I’m lov­ing the club. They are re­ally good to me, so I’m lucky I came to Marist.’’

The teenager ad­mits it has taken some ad­just­ing as far as switch­ing from school­boy ranks to his first sea­son lin­ing up in se­nior club rugby.

‘‘It’s a lot more phys­i­cal and it is a bit faster than school rugby. I’m still try­ing to adapt to how fast the game is,’’ he said.

Tosi said while a large num­ber of the suc­cess­ful Ro­torua Boys’ team re­mained up north the op­por­tu­nity to test him­self some­where dif­fer­ent prompted him to agree to make the shift south.

‘‘Most of my mates signed con- tracts up north and I just didn’t want to be that guy that fol­lowed his mates. I kind of wanted to make my own path in rugby and start here.’’

PHOTO: ROBYN EDIE/ FAIRFAX NZ

Marist No 8 Lio Tosi, who is orig­i­nally from Levin, plays against Star at Rugby Park in a 2017 South­land premier club rugby fix­ture.

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