For a small town, Oamaru produces some mighty fine touch players.
Logan Wilson, Jasmine Hunter and Brylee More – remember those names.
Wilson and More made tournament teams at the Touch New Zealand under-16 training camp in Rotorua last week, and Hunter recently represented the New Zealand under-16 girls team in Australia.
And, in a hugely significant moment for Otago touch, Wilson was named boys MVP out of the 75-80 who attended the training camp in Rotorua.
The Waitaki Boys’ High School year 10 pupil said he was a little stunned when organisers announced he was the cream of the crop.
“I was excited but quite nervous as well,” Wilson told the Oamaru Mail
“I’m pretty proud of it.”
Wilson was delighted to be presented with a Touch Blacks singlet from a member of the national squad.
He said the four-day camp was an intense experience. The youngsters were immersed in the sport all day, taking part in fitness sessions, defence and attack drills, and game situations.
Wilson, also a talented rugby player, is now eyeing the national touch championships next year, and potentially a bid to make the New Zealand team for the World Youth Cup in Malaysia.
His coach, former Oamaru teacher Matt Brown, was one of the coaches at the Rotorua camp, and was impressed with Wilson’s efforts.
“He had a fantastic weekend, impressing all coaches with his work ethic and skills. Logan represented his family and our province admirably.”
More, the reigning North Otago junior sportswoman of the year, was one of 12 players named in the girls tournament team.
She has already had a taste of top touch, having represented New Zealand at under-15 mixed level last year, and is heading to Fiji in three weeks with an invitation squad based around that team and the Canterbury under-16 side.
More, a year 11 pupil at St Kevin’s College, will also soon begin regular Thursday evening trips to play in the Dunedin competition.
Meanwhile, still buzzing after an international debut is Waitaki Girls’ High School year 12 pupil Jasmine Hunter, who played for the New Zealand under-16 girls at the Australian state championships on the Sunshine Coast.
“It was pretty cool,’ Hunter said.
“I loved it. They were a great bunch of girls and everyone got along so well.”
It was a tough week for the New Zealanders, who struck under-19 teams at the tournament.
“They just kept coming at you because they’re so fit and fast.”
It was a second trip to Australia this year for Hunter, the daughter of Kia Ora farmers. She also went on the Waitaki netball team’s trip across the ditch.
Oamaru hosts the Otago U12-18 touch trials on November 5. The event features teams that have been selected to represent five zones with the aim of making Otago teams to compete in South Island and national championships.
On December 2, Oamaru will host a tournament featuring Otago, Canterbury and Southland teams.