Sione Palaa has experienced his first taste of rugby in the United States, with his Life University side downing South Carolina 31-24.
The former St Kevin’s College student travelled to Atlanta, Georgia last month on a North Otago Rugby Union study/rugby scholarship and watched his new teammates hand North Carolina a 132-7 hiding from the sidelines in his first week.
The 19-year-old loosehead prop said he had been looking forward to his first outing and is now intent on improving his game in fierce competition.
“I loved it. American rugby is intense,” he said.
“My coaches loved how I played and they thought I did exceptionally well. I knew I had a lot to work on after that game. There was parts that needed to be improved, but that’s just the start of my season, and I’ve got a long way to go.
“With the coaches giving me good feedback on how good I played, it made me want to impress them more on what I can do on the rugby field.”
By JAMES FORD
WINNING WAYS: Nineteen-year-old Sione Palaa, fourth from left, with his Life University teams mates.