Lolo looking forward to tour

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The North Otago rugby side will travel to the Pacific Islands next month to play pre-season fixtures in the lead-up to their 2014 Heartland Championship campaign.

The August 2-13 tour of the Pacific Islands involves matches in both Fiji and Tonga.

It will be the first time the Old Golds have ventured overseas since their successful tour of Japan in 2008.

Touring squad member Don Lolo will be heading back to his native Tonga for the tour and is looking forward to his family members watching him play for the first time since arriving in New Zealand in 2010.

“Yeah, I’m definitely quite excited,” he said.

“I was pretty happy (to be selected). It’s a good opportunity to learn. I’m looking forward to it, and them watching, my dad, auntie and cousins. It’ll be the first time they have came to watch me play.”

The former Waitaki Boys’ First XV skipper, who came to Oamaru on a rugby scholarship, said the tour would offer the players an opportunity to experience a different style of rugby.

“In New Zealand there’s a lot more skill. In Tonga they run straight. It’s more about power,” he said.

North Otago will play three matches on their tour, two in Fiji against club side Nadroga and Pacific Islands University before flying to Tonga, where they take on a Tonga XV in Nukualofa, before flying home on August 13.

Twenty-three players and five members of the management group, along with a supporters’ group, will attend the 11-day tour.

By JAMES FORD

PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Don Lolo in action for Excelsior.