Promising rugby player Ben McCarthy will be mixing with some of the country’s top athletes later this month.
The former St Kevin’s College pupil has been selected for the Red Bull Ignite7, a development camp for prospective sevens players that takes place in Auckland from November 20 to 24.
McCarthy (19) will fight for one of six guaranteed places at the 2020 New Zealand Sevens Development Camps against other promising young players and athletes who are “new to rugby” including water polo player Ronan Gogarty-Watson, World Rowing Championship silver medallist Ben Taylor, and national sprint sensation Edward Osei-Nketia.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has selected 48 men and 48 women for the camp.
McCarthy, who is from Oamaru and played in the St Kevin’s first XV last year, has had a stop-start season.
He moved to Dunedin to study business at the Otago Polytechnic, but a thumb injury ruled him out of the first part of the rugby season.
Towards the end of the Citizens Shield season, he came back to play for Maheno and was selected for the North Otago Development and the New Zealand Heartland under-19 teams.
McCarthy said he was excited about the Ignite7 opportunity.
The camp takes four days, three of which are spent training, before an internal tournament on the fourth day.
“Some of the people haven’t even played rugby before. It should be cool.
“I think there is a fair bit of testing that goes on up there, so I’ll probably have to do a bit of fitness.”
McCarthy has only played in one sevens tournament before, but he hoped sevens would suit his style of play.
After the inaugural Ignite7 camp last year, players have made significant progress in their sevens careers.
Newly contracted All Blacks Sevens player Jacob Kneepkens was one of the six to claim a place at this year’s New Zealand Sevens Development Camps.
“Now in year two, we’re again blown away by the response and by the calibre and diverse sporting backgrounds of the athletes who have thrown their hat in the ring,” NZR high performance sevens talent development manager Chad Tuoro said.
“It definitely made for a tough job for our selectors.”
Athletes are put through their paces at Ignite7, taking part in education sessions, skill and athletic ability tests, and team training.