Rugby: Under 13 star reaches for Izzy heights

By Shane Hurndell

Promising Hawke's Bay under-13 rugby player Quevane Gurnick ranks Hawke's Bay All Black Israel Dagg as his hero.

"It has to be Izzy ... I like his offloads in the tackle, his attacking skills and he has a big boot," Gurnick said.

Early indications are Gurnick has the potential to follow Dagg's path too. The 11-year-old Peterhead School year seven student is on target to become the first player to represent the Hawke's Bay under-13s for three consecutive years.

"I was five kilograms over the weight limit for the Hastings West Ross Shield team this year. It didn't bother me too much as I played for the team as a winger last year and we won the tournament down in Dannevirke," Gurnick said.

Tomorrow he will play second five-eighth for the under-13s against Manawatu at Napier's Park Island. The Western Suburbs 12th grader is confident Hawke's Bay will repeat their pre-season win a fortnight ago against the same side.

"We've been training hard and we're all stepping up. I'm combining well with Joshua," Gurnick said, referring to centre Joshua McIntyre.

The oldest of four children, Gurnick is a son of former Flaxmere Falcons premier rugby league player Quentin Gurnick and a nephew of former Counties-Manukau Sevens representative Ioane Ioane, who still plays premier rugby for Hastings Rugby and Sports, and Kavana Ioane who also plays for the Hastings club. His name is a combination of his father's and two uncles'.

"Uncle Ioane gives me plenty of tips, like when you are on defence stick to your man, don't ball watch, and stand on the inside shoulder of the man you are marking," Gurnick said.

The former Hastings D grade representative is rapt with the coaching he has received from the likes of Hastings West Ross Shield coach, former Magpies first five-eighth Ross McLeod, and his club coach Reva Joseph.

Gurnick intends to do his secondary school education at Hastings Boys' High School and is eyeing a career as a builder. However if he continues to follow Dagg's path he is likely to find himself thrown into the professional rugby ranks while still at school. His father won't be surprised if this happens.

"If Quevane isn't at home, he's over here at the park [Flaxmere's Ron Giorgi Park] working on his skills at least three nights a week on his own, in addition to his regular team trainings. That's the advantage of just living around the corner," Gurnick snr added.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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