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You Are Right at the Door

You Are Right at the Door

When I started High School Top 200 in 2013 I saw players from 2010-2012 getting bigger, better, faster, smarter, more talented and knew that the jump to Pro Sports was happening earlier then tradition would say. We use to wait for guys to be around the 25-27 mark with 3 years of Club experience and 2 years of NPC/ITM or Mitre 10 before you got a shot at Super Rugby and only a FEW and I mean FEW got through earlier. So I started HS Top 200 to really start getting players noticed earlier and trying to start the talk/conversation and hype of players while still at school so they could get more exposure and get more opportunities/offers. This is what I mean when I say “You Are Right at The Door” Im talking to the serious High School rugby players, the ones that have set goals to make Rugby a Career, to put “Hard Work and Dedication” in place to one day wear that Black Jersey, doing that “Haka” in front of 70K people, the kids that want to fight for that 3%-5% of players that actually make it to Super Rugby or higher level Rugby, “You Are Right at The Door”.

There have been a few things that I have noticed while doing this Top 200 and the first is people not liking recruiting/Scouting and for me, those are people that are fans and Alum, and not players or parents. I see a kid moving to a bigger Rugby Program school and “Accepting” the scholarship offer because “He” and his “Parents” want to be in a better Rugby situation and a lot of the time Education situation. Im not blind and not saying it is not a rugby move because it is, but when you have a big private school name on any application and the Alumni is strong and that has some weight and power to it as well, that is more then one benefit to moving schools. Gifted Players that come from smaller areas are most of the time a one man team and do almost everything and the whole team and coaches know it, and so it’s not something that is not understood when they move at 15 Years old, but moving is the right thing to do and here is why. I want to be completely honest and say in “MOST” cases when it comes to the top players in the country their “Dream” is to be an All Black and they are working hard in 1st XV to get closer to that goal, they are not at a top rated rugby school to be an Accountant, Marine Biologist or Poet they are there for the high level of Rugby. They have gone to a big rugby school for Rugby “First” and “THEN” education and it’s in that order because, and listen carefully ok, you have a better “Chance” coming from a Pro style Rugby Program, with Pro Style Coaches, the Scholarship offer and the most important one is that there is an expiry date on your youth and talent but not on education, so they move to a bigger and better Rugby School.

Let me explain some more on the better “Chance” thing because I can hear everyone saying “Well what about this guy? he’s not from a big school and what about him?”. Im talking about a better “Chance”, focus on that word and hear me out. I have taken the names from my Top 200 Rankings from 2013-2016 and listed all the players that were on the Top 200 that have made it to Super Rugby level. I have listed them down in their Super Rugby Teams with the School they went to and also the Year they were in the Top 200 Rankings. Now I want you to also look at what I call my “Fish Net 5” and I call it that because if you play in any of these Comps your “Chances” of getting selected seem to be a lot better falling into that catchment of players. So take a look at the Players first…


TJ Faiane (St. Kentigern College)(2013)
Josh Goodhue (MAGS)(2013)
Blake Gibson (St. Kentigern College)(2013)
Akira Ioane (Auckland GS)(2013)
Michael Tamoaieta (Sacred Heart College)(2013)
Leni Apisai (Wellington College)(2013)
Bryn Gatland (Hamilton BHS)(2013)
Sam Nock (St. Kentigern College)(2014)
Reiko Ioane (Auckland GS)(2014) A/B
Isaac Salmons (Nelson College)(2014)
Jordan Trainor (St Peters College)(2014)
Tamati Tua (Kaitaia College)(2015)
Dalton Papalii (St Kentigerns College)(2015)
Stephen Perofeta (Wanganui Collegiate)(2015)
Caleb Clarke (MAGS)(2016)


Mitchell Karpik (Kings College)(2013)
Sam McNicol (Napier BHS)(2013)
Damien McKenzie (Christs College)(2013) A/B
Soloman Alaimalo (St Bedes College)(2013)
Atu Moli (Marlborough BC)(2013) A/B
Aiden Ross (Tauranga BC)(2013)
Jonathon Faauli (St. Kentigern College)(2013)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Rotorua BHS)(2013)
Sosefo Kautai (Sacred Heart College)(2013)
Fin Hoeata (Dilworth School)(2014)
Jonathan Taumateine (Wesley College)(2014)
Alex Nankivell (Christchurch BHS)(2014)
Shaun Stevenson (Auckland GS)(2014)
Luke Jacobson (Cambridge HS)(2014)
Samisoni Taukeiaho (St Pauls Collegiate)(2015)
Tiaan Falcon (Lindisfarne College)(2015)


Wesley Goosen (Wellington College)(2013)
James Blackwell (Wellington College)(2013)
Finlay Christie (St Kentigern College)(2013)
Jonah Lowe (Kings College)(2014)
TJ Va’a (Scots College)(2014)
Jordie Barrett (Francis Douglas College)(2014) A/B
Isaiah Walker (Gisborne Boys HS)(2015)
Asafo Aumua (St Pats Silverstream)(2015) A/B
Alex Fidow (Scots College)(2015)
Peter Umaga-Jensen (Scots College)(2015)


Jack Goodhue (MAGS)(2013) A/B
Mitchell Hunt (Nelson College)(2013)
Quinten Strange (Nelson College)(2014)
Braydon Ennor (St Kentigern College)(2015)
Will Jordan (Christchurch BHS)(2015)


Joshua Ioane (Kings College)(2013)
Tevita Li (Massey HS)(2013)
Patelesio (Sio) Tomkinson (Otago BHS)(2014)
Paripari Parkinson (St Kentigern College)(2015)
Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Scots College)(2015)
Josh McKay (Christchurch BHS)(2015)

(Fish Net 5 1A Comp, Super 8, CNI Comp, Wellington Comp and UC Comp those are the 5, then you have Southland/Otago BHS and OTHERS but they are not part of the 5, let me explain)

Now here is the second part to it and explained more alright, you have a better “Chance” making the Super Rugby level if you went to a 1A team because you have 21 players in Super Rugby from Top 200 2013 in there for next year, think about it this way as well taking 4 years of Top 200 and that’s 800 players just from my Rankings and only 52 players are playing Super Rugby next year. That is a very very small number right now and obviously as the years go on more and more will make it but still the numbers small. The next Comp that offer the next highest is the UC Comp, they have 9 players right now in Super Rugby on rosters, Wellington Comp has 8, CNI and Super 8 give you 5 each. So the “OTHERS” schools that are not in the “Fish Net 5” and also not Southland/Otago BHS the “OTHERS” only have 3 players and they are Tevita Li (Massey HS), Luke Jacobson (Cambridge HS) and Tamati Tua (Kaitaia College), so the stance of “You dont have to go to a big school to make it” is “KIND OF” untrue because out of all the other schools not in the “Fish Net 5” only 3 have managed to make it and the number of schools in the “OTHERS” is way more then the “Fish Net 5” schools, so I would say it give you a better “Chance” to make it going to a bigger Rugby Program. The Southland/Otago BHS dont really have a good showing either with only Sio Tomkinson (Otago BHS) making it for next year and that’s just for Top 200 players from 2013-2016 so dont start naming guys outside those dates ok.

“Fish Net 5”


1A 10/5/2/2/2
Super 8 1/3/1/0/0
CNI 1/3/1/0/0
UC Comp 1/4/0/3/1
Wellington Comp 1/0/6/0/1
OTHER 1/1/0/0/1
Southland/Otago BHS 0/0/0/0/1


The next is having a Pro Style Coach with a Pro Style System, “You Are Right at The Door” meaning that all these guys on that list above are only just removed from school, there are guys STILL at school that went to school with these guys. Asafo Aumua, Reiko Ioane and Caleb Clarke were not long ago and Caleb was still 17 years old this year and could have come back to MAGS and been U18 and could have played NZSS how unfair would that have been? Australia would have had no chance trying to stop him. Now lets talk about Caleb because he is the latest and best example. He finished last year and was still 17 this year, he finished school, played Mitre 10 and picked up a Super Rugby contract, at 17, “You Are Right at The Door”. Caleb went to Mount Albert Grammar School, who won the Nationals and played under Geoff Moon who is now an Assistant for the Auckland Mitre 10 Cup team, Pro Style Coach who ran a Pro Style System. Now I am not saying that if you dont go to these types of school that you wont make it Im saying that your “Chances” of making it are better. Caleb fit a Pro System and Life because he was already doing it and playing it on the field. Caleb works very hard and is very dedicated because he has a goal in mind and wants to work hard to reach it, being at a school that has a Pro Style Coach with a Pro Style System will help you massively. MAGS is not the only school, Hamilton BHS with Nigel and Greg have been doing it for years, St Kentigern College Tai Lavea, Sacred Heart Gus Leger, Ryan Martin Otago BHS is another guy I think should have a Mitre 10 job already there is a lot of them out there.

The last one is that scholarships and sports, a lot say schools are for education and yes they are right, so I would say “take sports out of schools then?”. The response “Oh dont take it that far Hersch?” Well for me I dont get it then school are for education but not “ONLY” for that reason that’s why we have sports at schools, that’s why we have Houses, Groups or whatever you call them at your school, I was in Lion’s House at Church College of New Zealand and proud of it. We had swimming, athletics, Dance Fest, Song Fest, Mini House different activities to help us to grow in other areas of our lives, to grow friendships and bonds that will never break, it’s not just about education.

If it was just about education why make it legal to offer Sports Scholarships to help advance our best Sportsmen and Sportswomen at better schools that have the funding and facilities? Just take that all away if it’s just about education. Some kids just dont have it in them to handle the education route they feel a lot better and cope a lot better playing Sports and that’s what helps them feel alive, wanted, looked up and admired and appreciated, why not help them with that? Why should we stop them from working towards their Dreams? Or complain because you dont think they should go through school like that, Why should your opinion matter in their Goals? I think every Coach should set an Educational mark that is above just passing and say if you fall below it then you dont play Saturday, that’s how I feel and that’s because every kid needs a counter balance because that is what life is a counter balance of 10 different things you are responsible for and they should learn that too.

In closing one thing I dont hear from these people that stress that “Education is Key”, is the out roar of these players now in Full Time Contracts not at school or studying of some kind to further there education after high. I have never looked through comments after an AB game and seen someone say “Well Reiko had two tries today but does he have a Physic’s degree? No he doesnt, education has failed these AB’s” I have never seen it ever which means to me that your not really annoyed that they went to school to play rugby first and education second, Your annoyed they didn’t go to “YOUR” school or Alma Mater to play rugby first and education second, Right?

Look they can study after they feel like they have had a fair run at their “Dreams” the window is so small to make it anything can happen. Some kids just cant take school life of reading, writing essays, research and study that really isn’t for everyone so leave them to it. Boys get respectable grades at school make your parents proud by showing them that your trying your best at school and that one day you “Might” want to go the University/Win Tech/ Poly Tech route. If you have set “Goals” to be Pro Rugby Player then set other “Goals” for when your done and find a balance. “You Are Right at The Door” Hard Work, Dedication” in the classroom and on the field.



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