1. Thomas Martin (Hamilton BHS)
I have Tom at No.1 because he is one of those players that I think lift’s the team and have that next level leadership. Tom playing for Hamilton BHS for the past 2 years and going to the Top 4 Tournaments coming 3rd and then 2nd, he knows what it is like to get there and what it feels like to be on the winning track. I think it will be a very hard battle for him as a Top player in the country because he is the unsung hero in all his games. You dont see him do anything worth of a highlight “Click” but if you know what hard work is and that’s what you want in your team frame, then he is the one you go for right away. Is Tom the most gifted and talented? No, but will he be out worked? No, but like myself and other recruits and scouts, we look for hard work over talent.
2. Rob Rush (St Kentigern College)
I think when it comes to this player or players like Rob you really have to think “Duel Player”. I think Rob can make NZSS this year but the question will be for what position and how do we fit him in our system. He can play as a Blind Side/Lock for the whole year and the result will be the same, but for Reps do you go for Height or Hard Work as a Lock/Blind Side. Rob is to fast, to quick, to strong, hard working and ball in hand strong to forget him or leave him out of selections. If you get to see St Kentigern College this year watch for him and his high work rate and effect he makes for the team.
3. Andrew Viane (St Peters School)
One of the best ball runners in the country, one of the best crash ball players in the country, has the best timing for receiving the ball on time in the country and is an offencive “Gem” that every team would want in their school colours. Andrew is the truth and he is worth the cold afternoons or raining days to go out there and watch this guy in action. Andrew just goes forward, he makes meters all the time and gets the team going forward making sure they tracking the right way. He always has to have a few players try bring him down when being tackled and but the dangerous part is that last year he learned how to keep his head up and look for support around him as he goes to the ground extending the play. That has been important for his overall game because he is now not just a running player he is now a play making threat with the ball in hand, one thing to remember as well is that last year he wasn’t that fit but this year he is on point. P.S he is a Young Year 13
4. Malupo Ma’afu (Rotorua BHS)
Give him a situation and he’ll fix it for you, give him a team with talent and he can lead them for the 70 mins and give him the ball and he’ll get you where you need to go. Malupo is just a do everything player that has this wide range of skills that you dont know where to start when preparing to play someone like this. When it comes to a player like him where do you start? He is smart, play tough and physical, he is never scared and prides himself on defence, hard work and dedication. I think Malupo has a chance to show what he can do playing for Raukura and this is going to be his year to show out and make selectors pay attention to his worth.
5. Braedyn Collins (Rosmini College)
Here is what I find interesting about Braedyn and his skill set and you got to take into the fact that he is like 6’5-6’6. When you see him move and you see his foot work when he runs the field he does it so effortlessly and smoothly. He is not heavy footed or clumsy, he is very free when he runs and that is where I think he will make a difference for his team and for his forward pack because he finds the different gaps in the line and gets to them, he knows how to beat players on the outside and then throw a fend out. He is also very tall and counts as another option at Line out time which only helps with the calls and confusion when they are on the oppositions line.
Isaiah Mapusua (Kings College)
Iona Apineru (St Patrick College, Silverstream)
Jeffery Ikani (Auckland GS)
Julian Goerke (Hastings BHS)
Angus Fletcher (Rangiora HS)
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