Rugby: Bay duo ready to make history

By Shane Hurdell


When it comes to parental support, Sheridan Rangihuna knows he is a lucky bloke.

The New Zealand Under 20 halfback's parents, Api and Tangi, travel from Wellington every weekend to watch him play his club rugby in the Bay for Tech Group of Companies Napier Technical. Next month they will travel to France to watch their son and Tech clubmate and former Gisborne Boys' High School 1st XV teammate, Magpies winger Penikolo Latu, play at the Junior World Championship.

"The fact they are making the effort to come all that way will give me more motivation to try and be our team's No 1 halfback at the tournament," Rangihuna said.

"Dad [a former Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay first five-eighth]is my main critic. He gives me a work-on after every game. Mum is my rock ... no matter how well I've played, she always says "well done. son"."

A 2011 New Zealand Secondary Schools representative, Rangihuna said it was a nervous wait listening to the announcement of his latest national team last week.

"Tayler Adams is the other halfback and his name was the first one read out. I didn't hear too many others apart from Peni's and mine and I was disappointed my other mate missed out," Rangihuna said referring to Tech fullback and fellow Gisborne Boys' High School product Tamati Samuels.

"We were told the naming of the team is just the beginning of our journey. Our job now is to go and create history."

One of his major work-ons before the side travels to France is his running game.

"I've got to snipe more on the third and fourth phases," EIT student Rangihuna said.

While both of the Baby Blacks first five-eighths, Manawatu's Jade Te Rure and Auckland's Simon Hickey are competent goalkickers Rangihuna said he will put his hand up for the role if asked.

He was grateful for all the work put in by Magpies assistant coach and former All Black halfback Danny Lee in his quest to make the national team. Rangihuna knows some polished displays in Vannes will enhance his chances of making the Magpies ITM Cup squad upon his return.

This will be Rangihuna's first trip to Europe and another of his pre-tournament assignments will be to learn some French lingo. Like Latu, he is looking forward to playing the next three weeks of club rugby in the Bay from tomorrow's home game against Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports and helping Tech remain on top of the Nash Cup points table.

A labourer with Camo Construction, Latu pointed out he didn't trial as well as he would have liked.

"My reputation of being a five-game Magpie from last year helped. I was the only specialist winger named but there will be another three players like me wanting to be one of the starting wingers."

Although he prefers the right wing, Latu is happy to play either side. During the coming weeks he will be focusing more on beating his opponents on the outside than running through them which he has over done this season.

Latu, who was born and raised in Tonga until he was six, will also be making his first trip to Europe.

"I'm not too concerned about learning the French language ... I'll let my rugby do the talking," he added.

Other sixth round Nash Cup fixtures tomorrow will see Clive host Hawke's Bay Insurances Napier Old Boys Marist at Farndon Park, Tamatea host Progressive Meats Havelock North at Bill Mathewson Park, Carters Frame and Truss Taradale host MAC at Tareha Reserve and Central host IMS Payroll Hastings Rugby and Sports at Central Park.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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