Com­bined team pro­vides new path­way

The Leader (Tasman) - - GOLDEN YEARS -

The amal­ga­ma­tion of Waimea Com­bined has en­abled Motueka High School stu­dents like winger Jan Lam­mers to play in the UC Cham­pi­onship with­out mov­ing schools. He caught up with

Your brother Vito was in­volved in last year’s squad, which was the first to open the door for play­ers out­side of Waimea Col­lege. Did watch­ing him in­spire you to push for a place in the team this sea­son?

It came along for my brother and I got to see him play up a whole other level and it opened my eyes to what I could get to. I seen him play, and a few of his mates from Mot, and it was pretty cool to see.

I al­ways looked up to them and saw that I could do it too.

Did you ever worry about miss­ing out on play­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion be­cause you didn’t at­tend Nel­son or Waimea?

You al­ways heard about Nel­son and that if you wanted to play good rugby you had to go there.

But I didn’t re­ally want to go to an all boys school and all that so this is a mean as op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one else that can’t get there.

David Hav­ili of the Cru­saders and Si­mon Man­ner­ing of the War­riors orig­i­nally went to Mot High be­fore trans­fer­ring to Nel­son. Are you in­spired by them or any other for­mer stu­dents?

Ac­tu­ally, Beechy (Eden Beech). He made the Cru­saders Knights and it just shows that even from Mot you can get to that level and from this team too.

I want to do good in this team and then hope­fully get seen by the higher lev­els, like the Knights.

Waimea Com­bined caused a big up­set by beat­ing Nel­son Col­lege ear­lier in the sea­son. Do you think this re­sult is a turn­ing point for the team?

It was over­whelm­ing. I had never ever ac­tu­ally beaten Nel­son Col­lege be­fore in any team so it was pretty cool to get up there and ac­tu­ally beat them.

It re­ally showed us that we can com­pete in this grade.

You scored in that game too, that must be pretty spe­cial to look back on?

Right in the cor­ner, yeah. It was over­whelm­ing.

What was the re­ac­tion like in the team at full­time, know­ing you had won the game?

A few boys were a bit teary. They couldn’t be­lieve it ac­tu­ally. It was just amaz­ing.

They’ve al­ways been the top and been the best, and for us to come in un­der­neath and tip them over was pretty cool.

The team lost by just one point against Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege af­ter that mem­o­rable win. So was that a bit of a re­al­ity check, know­ing there’s still a lot of hard work ahead?

We didn’t play as well as we should’ve and that re­ally brought us down to Earth.

We just have to be con­sis­tent in how we play.

The team sits sev­enth af­ter seven games, and just three points off the top four. So is reach­ing the semi­fi­nals the team’s tar­get?

We are def­i­nitely aim­ing for top four but we know we have to play con­sis­tently good games.

PHOTO: PHILLIP ROLLO/FAIR­FAX NZ

Waimea Com­bined Schools winger Jan Lam­mers is thriv­ing in his first sea­son in the UC Cham­pi­onship.

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