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