1. Wellington College – Naitoa Ah Koui and Sam Green
These two guys are young and up and coming Locks that have everything thats needed. Sam Green a Year 13 student but is a young Year 13 meaning he can come back next year and still be Under 18. He is a very active player around the field getting in work at the break downs and very good in the tackle. Sam has a high work rate and very good on defence in the line outs. Naitoa brings that same amount of skills with a bit more power behind it and with his running ability Naitoa is one of my picks for NZSS even as a Year 12 player. Naitoa is very mobile and has got a very high skill set unlike other Locks you would see.
2. Hamilton BHS – Hadleigh Morgan and Israel Immanueli
With Hadleigh Morgan in his 2nd year at starting Lock he will be a go to player this year in the 2nd row. Hadleigh is not the tallest Lock around but he does give that extra effort which goes a long way. Hadleigh is very good in the air and getting clean ball off throws, he has very good defence and does the hard work around the edge of rucks. His Locking partner Israel Immanueli has come through the system and is ready to step up, he is the taller of the two but will come in as a 2nd responder of some sorts in line out calls and redirecting plays. He is a big player and can help out a lot in the hard work grinding parts of the game and can clean out rucks.
3. MAGS – Waimana Kapa, Thomas Barlow and Jack Casey-Pickering
I have 3 players down because all 3 have the ability to really contribute to the 2nd row. Waimana is one of the best in the country at Lock and is very valuable on the field for his skills and leadership. I think with Waimana in the line up he controls and guides around the team with his leadership and willingness to take that first hit putting his body on the line every time. Thomas Barlow returning from last makes things a lot better for the squad and the extra leadership in the squad. He’ll bring some toughness and much hard work in the battle for the ball. Young Jack Casey-Pickering will be handy off the bench holding up that skill level and work rate when he steps out on the field and a player to watch out for next year.
4. Hastings BHS – Liam Buckham, Baden Papuni and Jesse Sipia
This Locking combo is very solid in the tight game and they have a high work rate and get to the ball and tackles. All players get out of the blocks quick and get to the ball runners and cut them down. They fit well into the ground work getting into their core jobs first and then adding that extra to help the team out. Liam is the lead on these 3 and the go to guy in the line outs and he is the guy to watch out for first. The other two do a great job backing up Liam getting into the face of the opposition in line outs and take their fare share of runs. Baden and Jesse would swap around back and forth over the year but all 3 together you cant really argue with the trio as a whole. They get it done.
5. John McGlashan College – Woody Kirkwood and Sam Moir
These two guys would not be well known to a lot of people around the country and others wouldn’t even recognize the school, but if these two players were bigger programs they would have more shine and get more credit for their talent. The boys play very well together and I think are in their 3rd year in the 1st XV together. They have a good line out presence with Woody being the taller gets in the way of jumpers stealing and disrupting both the Hooker throwing and Lock. Woody gets around the field as well and can be a force in the tackle. Sam has the same mentality getting in the way of throws, makes tackles all game, making his share of runs and together both dominate.
New Plymouth BHS
St Peters School