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On the up . . . St Kevin's College pupil Max Fatafehi (15) has been selected for the New Zealand Touch ID Camp later this year. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

A talented North Otago sportsman is taking his touch to an elite national level.

Max Fatafehi has been selected for the New Zealand Touch Rugby ID Camp in October, where he will have the opportunity to develop his skills with top coaches and test himself against new players.

“It’s pretty good – it’s going to be exciting. I’m looking forward to getting to know more people and being able to develop more touch skills,” Max said.

The 15-year-old’s selection for the three-day Auckland camp came off the back of a stand out performance at last month’s National Youth Touch Championship.

He was part of the Otago under-16 boys side, which placed fourth at his first taste of a national touch tournament.

“Nationals – it was good. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot more challenging than South Islands.”

Playing at middle or link, he was part of the Otago under-16 side that won a South Island tournament, beating Canterbury 9-4 in the final.

Four other players from the Otago side, who are based in Dunedin, were chosen for the national camp.

Touch rugby became a part of Max’s life when he was young. By age 9, he was already playing for Otago, after his father, Ofa, ncouraged him to take it up seriously.

“It’s a fast flowing game, it’s always going – there’s no breaks at all.”

He debuted for North Otago and Otago in the same year, and played touch for his former school, Otago Boys’ High School, in Dunedin.

This year, Max returned to North Otago and now attends St Kevin’s College. He has been preparing for the South Island Secondary Schools Touch Championships this weekend.

He had also been part of the Otago under-14 rugby league team, and played rugby union at Otago Boys’.

All the codes “flowed off” each other, and gave him a good base skill set.