Academy launched

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Waitaki Boys’ makes dedicated rugby effort

HAYDEN.MEIKLE
@oamarumail.co.nz

Waitaki Boys’ High School rugby might never recapture the glory days of the 1960s and 1980s, but it is trying hard. The Oamaru school is establishing an academy in a bid to boost the playing stocks at the school and provide extra support and coaching for promising young players.
A mere 24 year 1011 players have been invited to form the inaugural intake with two soon to be added.
Waitaki Boys’ director of rugby Ryan Bambry said the academy would expose the select group to more specific training than they would receive in their regular
Tuesday-Thursday team sessions.
All boys will have self-starter programmes to follow over summer, and they will have fitness testing on the first day of the 2016 school year.
The academy will call on position-specific coaches, from both Oamaru and Dunedin, and also delve into areas like mental skills and nutrition.
‘‘It’s important we do it to keep pace, really, with what some other schools have done with their junior programmes,’’ Bambry said.
‘‘If parents and boys are really keen on pursuing rugby and going somewhere, this will help keep them here.’’
Waitaki Boys’ has become something of a breeding ground for bigger rugby schools in recent years — the likes of Tui Katoa and Sione Asi, who left Waitaki to
pursue their rugby at Otago Boys’ High School, spring to mind.
The First XV will suffer a major loss for next year with the departure of promising first five-eighth Llewellyn Johnson, though his scholarship to St Andrew’s
was for cricket, Bambry said.
Academy players will be training outside school hours — at 6.30am — and will be held to strict behavioural standards. Any costs will have to be covered by the players’ fundraising efforts.
‘‘We’ve got very clear expectations. If they aren’t committed, there won’t be a spot for them. You’re in or you’re out.’’
St Kevin’s College holds local bragging rights with three successive victories in the traditional inter-school, but Bambry said the establishment of a Waitaki
Boys’ academy should not be seen as a sign of Blood Match bitterness.
‘‘It’s a hard one. The Blood Match is massive, but it’s unfortunate that that is the only thing our boys are judged on.
‘‘Lots of people ask if I’d rather win the Otago-wide competition or the Blood Match. And that’s tough. I want our boys to be judged on consistency.
‘‘In saying that, of course we want the Peanut back.’’