Gone are the days when the best props in Hawke's Bay's premier club rugby competition were blokes in their late 20s and early 30s.
Props in their late teens and early 20s are getting tongues wagging and raising eyebrows. One is 18-year-old Progressive Meats Havelock North loosehead Adam Jowsey.
A second player-of-the-match performance in his team's 76-5 demolition job on Clive at Farndon Park last weekend saw Jowsey become the 17th winner in the Tui Hawke's Bay Today Club Player of the Year award. Havelock head coach Tom Blake said Jowsey has made rapid progress in his first season at premier level.
Jowsey says one of the keys to his success has been the amount of gym work he is able to do between his Sport and Recreation course studies at EIT. He is in his first year of a three-year course.
"I have heaps of time to do my own gym work. I do four to five hours a week."
Many Bay club rugby followers are surprised Jowsey didn't gain Hawke's Bay under-18 or under-16 selection.
This is more a reflection of the high number of quality props in his age group.
Jowsey hopes his recent form will earn him selection in the Hawke's Bay under-20s.
"If I don't make it this year I will be eligible again next year."
A product of the Hastings Rugby and Sports and Havelock North junior rugby production lines, Jowsey, had three years in the Hastings Boys' High School 1st XV. His career highlight to date is helping Hastings Boys' High School beat Hamilton Boys High School in his final Super 8 outing last year.
"Hamilton Boys were the Super 8 champions and hadn't long been two-time world secondary schools champions," Jowsey recalled.
He is grateful for tips received from former Hastings Boys High School prop, 2011 under-20 world champion and current Chiefs tighthead Ben Tameifuna, who often returned to his former school to pass on advice.
Jowsey hopes his EIT course will set him up for a career as a physical education teacher.
"It would be good to be able to go back to Hastings Boys' High School as a teacher ... I want to be like Tony McBride," he said referring to his former PE teacher and 1st XV coach.
Jowsey is confident Havelock North can retain the Maddison Trophy and agreed the villagers exceeded expectations since losing eight of their best players to the Magpies training squad.
"It's important we keep up the high standards in their absence."
Jowsey is a son of premier club rugby referee Carl Jowsey. He said it is good to be able to check rulings out with his father.
"Usually the referees get their rulings right," Jowsey quipped in an obvious ploy not to get his cheap board increased.