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Crusaders replacement hooker George Bell gets ready to throw the ball in for his side in Perth last weekend. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Shag Valley has its first Super rugby player.

George Bell, who first started out playing for Eastern in the junior grades, made his debut for the Crusaders in Perth on Saturday night.

Bell (20) came on five minutes into the second half of the match against the Force, and got through plenty of work.

The hooker capped off his performance with a try in the final play of the game, in what was a big Crusaders win. The defending champion recorded a 53›15 victory.

Watching on from afar were Bell’s parents, Johnny and Tanya Bell, who operate Shag Valley Station.

Johnny Bell said it was great their son had made his debut at Super Rugby level.

The couple got a surprise when he went on early in the second half.

He replaced Otago hooker Ricky Jackson, who has been a member of the squad for about half of the season.

Johnny Bell said his son had been training with the squad for most of the season but it was still a surprise that he got the call›up.

‘‘It was very exciting for him. We spoke to him after the game, which was nice, and he has enjoyed himself. It’s a good opportunity for a young fella, playing with all these All Blacks that he looked up to,’’ Johnny Bell said.

The Bells had looked into travelling to Perth but it was a long way from Shag Valley to Western Australia and not easy to get flights.

After backing the blue and gold of Otago for many years, the Bell family was getting used to wearing red and black to support the Crusaders.

Bell got his chance as experienced All Black hooker Codie Taylor came home from Australia for the week. Taylor’s time off, due to All Black rest protocols, prompted Bell’s call-up.

Bell was planning to head back to New Zealand and get ready to play in the Super Rugby national under-20 tournament to take place in Taupo later this week.

He will be a key member of the Crusaders under›20 side.

After playing for Eastern, Bell went to John McGlashan College as a boarder and made an impression.

In his last year at school, he made the New Zealand Barbarians schools squad, which is a national side made up of players who just missed out on the New Zealand schools team.

He decided to go to Lincoln University upon leaving school, where he is on a sports scholarship and also studying valuation.

George is not the only hooker in the family.

His older brother Henry (22) also plays hooker and has turned out for Otago.

The two brothers could potentially clash later in the season, when Otago takes on Canterbury.

Johnny Bell said it would be great to watch the brothers play against each other at first class level — if it happened.

George Bell is believed to be the first player from the Eastern club, and born in the district, to play at Super Rugby level.

Josh Hohneck plays for the Highlanders and turns out for Eastern but he was born and bred inthe North Island.