SHARE
Mind the gap . . . North Otago first five Antini Brown attacks the line during the Heartland Championship game against East Coast at Whitestone Contracting Stadium on Saturday. PHOTO: PHIL JANSSEN

He is not the biggest man on a rugby field, but Antini Brown does not lack heart. The North Otago first five-eighth talks to Hayden Meikle

Q: How old are you, Antini?
I’m 24.

Q: What’s your background? Where are you from?
I was born in Invercargill and my parents moved to Perth when I was about 4. So I grew up mostly in Perth and played all my rugby over there for various rep teams. My family are all still in Perth. I’ve got two little brothers and sisters growing up over there. This is my first year playing out here in New Zealand.

Q: Do you enjoy Western Australia?
Yeah, it’s a real cruisy lifestyle, and it’s nice and warm. Certainly a bit warmer compared to here. The rugby conditions are obviously a lot different too – it’s a lot drier and faster back there.

Q: How have you ended up in Oamaru?
I was playing premier rugby in WA and I wanted to get out and experience rugby elsewhere. I looked at what was available, and an opportunity came up with Athletic Marist. It’s a different lifestyle out here, and I’ve met some good people. The rugby’s definitely different. It’s a lot slower, just because of the tracks. And the physicality is a big thing. It took me a couple of games to get used to the physicality. There are some strong farm boys here who can throw you around a bit.

Q: You’d played a bit of sevens too?
Yeah I played a lot of sevens in the rugby off-season. Before we came out here, we had an Australian national tournament, and I played a bit for the Western Force sevens team in that.

Q: How are you enjoying your contest with Dan Lewis for that No 10 jersey?
Yeah, it’s been a good challenge. I think we’ve both taken it the right way. We’re both pushing each other in the right direction, which is what you want. It makes you push a bit harder when you’ve got someone barking at your feet.

Q: Can North Otago do it? Go all the way and win the Meads Cup?
Definitely. We dropped a couple of games in the last minute, which was disappointing. We could be sitting up there quite comfortably. We’ve just got to back ourselves and play to our structures and we’ll be fine.

Q: What do you do for a job?
I’m working at Turners and Growers, just doing logistics work. I’m pretty much the office boy. It’s good fun.

Q: What does the future hold?
I haven’t really planned that far ahead, to be honest. This year’s been about getting some different rugby experiences and doing some travelling. That’s still the goal. I just want to travel and enjoy what I’m doing. I have been studying economics and international relations the last couple of years. Just something a bit different to get my mind off rugby. So I will definitely go back to study at some stage