Another Guildford stepping up


The days of Levi Guildford queuing up for his All Black cousin Zac's New Zealand Rugby Football Union's gear issue hand-me-downs are about to end.

The Napier Boys' High School Year 13 student has been named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools side to play their Australian counterparts in October and Guildford, 17, can expect plenty of NZRFU gear of his own during the next month.

"My feet were always too big for Zac's boots and runners ... Vinny and Chad usually got them," said Guildford, referring to his younger brothers.

A member of the Napier Boys' High School 1st XV for the past three seasons, Guildford was asleep on the team's bus as it travelled along the Taupo-Napier Highway following the weekend's national secondary schools Top Four Knockout tournament in Rotorua when the text came through informing him of his selection.

"The boys took five or six attempts to wake me up. I stayed up after receiving the news ... I had a bit of energy," said the only Hawke's Bay representative in the national side.

The selection was the ideal form of consolation for the NBHS side he was vice-captain of, which missed out on the weekend's title. They finished third equal.

"We were really gutted to lose our first game by three points. We left our run too late and had we won that game against Kelston we would have had a good show of winning the title," said Guildford.

He hadn't had high hopes of making the national side as injury had forced him out of the Hurricanes under-18 team's games at last month's national regional tournament.

"I got hurt in the warm up before we played the Blues and had a couple of weeks off. Obviously the selectors kept an eye on me during the remaining Super 8 games and were happy with what they saw," said the powerful No8.

His All Black cousin, who played for the New Zealand Secondary Schools side in 2006, was among the first to congratulate him.

"Zac was rapt, like me. He told me to never be satisfied with being selected and stressed the importance of pushing myself further to make the starting XV ... I don't want to be on the bench," said Guildford, who can also play blindside flanker.

His New Zealand team will play the strong Waikato Under-20s side on September 28 before travelling to Sydney where they will face the Australian Secondary Schools A side on October 4 before their "test" against the Australian Secondary Schools in Sydney on October 8.

Guildford intends working with the Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union's Academy fitness trainer Karl Bloxham during the coming weeks.

He will also continue with his gym work and regular runs over the Taradale hills.

Despite receiving scholarship offers from other unions he intends to stay in the Bay next year and study at EIT.

He will more than likely play for his family's Napier Technical club.

"There are plenty of good loosies there to play alongside and learn off," added Guildford, referring to Magpies Hugh Reed and Trent Boswell-Wakefield.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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