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Give it a boot ... North Otago fullback Josh Buchan clears for touch during the Heartland Championship game against King Country earlier this month. PHOTO: DAVE BOYLE

He is the fresh new face in the North Otago backline but Josh Buchan has a familiar name. Oamaru is still “home” for the Old Golds fullback, though he has been studying and playing in Dunedin since he was 14. Hayden Meikletracks him down for a chat.

Q: How old are you, Josh?
I turned 20 in May

Q: And you were Oamaru-born and raised, right?
Yeah, born and raised till I was year 10. Then I moved to Dunedin. I did one year at Waitaki Boys’ before going to Otago Boys’.

Q: On reflection, was that the right move for you?
Yeah, it probably was. Rugby-wise, it would have been. I played in the Otago Boys’ First XV for three years, and I played for New Zealand Schools. Two of the years at Otago Boys’ were really good, and we just fell a bit short in the other one. It was just totally different coaching down there. It was all about skills and fitness instead of just gymming. You had a whole new range of skills to use.

Q: And then you went into premier rugby with Southern. Was it a buzz to win the Dunedin banner with the club this year?
It was awesome. Far out. Considering it was only my second year in premier rugby, and the club hadn’t won it in about 10 years, it was pretty special. It’s a really good club. We had a few old boys and a few young boys, but everyone mixed pretty well.

Q: You’re one of the youngest in the North Otago squad. How are the old salts like Lemi Masoe and Ralph Darling looking after you?
Yeah, everyone is pretty friendly and supportive. I knew a few of the guys in the squad when I was younger, and to be in the same team as them now I’m a bit older is pretty cool.

Q: How would you describe your style of rugby? How do you like to play the game?
I don’t know. I like attacking rugby. When the field’s a bit broken up – that’s probably my favourite part. I like to attack when things are scattered. I’m just trying to do a bit of everything: work on my skills, make sure I’m tackling properly .. all the little techniques.

Q: Has the Heartland Championship been what you expected?
Yeah, it’s quite tough. I maybe didn’t think it would be as tough as this. Some of the games, like South Canterbury at the weekend, have been really hard. There are some big boys, some big farmers, in some of the teams.

Q: What’s the ultimate goal for you in rugby?
My short-term goal is trying to make Super rugby in the next couple of years. Hopefully. That’s the plan, and we’ll see where it takes me.

Q: Are you studying or working?
I work at Otago Boys’ Mondays to Wednesdays, as a teacher aide. Then I do a bit of study. I’m studying social work down at polytech. It’s a bit of everything at the moment. Life is pretty full-on. I like to spend time with my family and my girlfriend when I can.

Q: Have you got a decent nickname?
Just the same as my dad. Everyone calls me Bucky.