College Sport: Allrounder in own league

By Campbell Burnes

Student of many sports eyeing a crack at Warriors U20s in 2017.
Siave Togoiu is the master of many sports. Picture / Brett Phibbs
Siave Togoiu is the master of many sports. Picture / Brett Phibbs

One day soon Siave Togoiu will have to specialise and league will likely win out.

In the meantime, the 16-year-old Southern Cross Year 13 student is into everything and loving it.

When the Herald caught up with him at school, Togoiu was about to head to Mt Smart Stadium for the Auckland schools athletics championships. The night before he had helped Southern Cross to third place in the Auckland schools kilikiti tournament. The next day he had a clash with the AFL Junior Hawks Cup and the schools regional tag tournament. The latter was cancelled due to poor weather, but it is a brief insight into Togoiu's intense first term of school sport.

So summer is dominated by athletics and volleyball, with some Australian Rules, tag and kilikiti for fun.

In winter the focus narrows to rugby and league, his first love and the one in which he has most potential to make it when he leaves school.

Togoiu will again play for the First XIII on Wednesday afternoons in the College league competition and the First XV in the 1B grade on Saturdays.

"My coaches and PE teachers always push me. They don't mind me doing more sport but they get me to focus on my schoolwork at the same time."

Last season saw Togoiu, a centre in both codes, score the winning try for NZ Schools in their league international against Australia in Papakura.

"The centre back-passed it to me because the wing rushed up to stop the play. I just grabbed it, ran and scored the try," says Togoiu.

Sounds simple but there is more to his game than just that, as the Warriors have noticed, bringing him into their academy, where he trains at their base.

The Mangere East Hawks junior has a simple philosophy surrounding his aim of cracking the Warriors Under-20s next season.

"If that doesn't work out, I'll just keep training until I get there," he says.

His school teacher and league coach Rod Ratu has overseen Togoiu's development for Southern Cross First XIII, Counties Manukau Stingrays Under 17-18 and the NZ Schools league side.

"At the moment he's raw talent. He's exceptionally quick with the ball in space and he will score tries. He just needs to get his head around work ethic and attitude."

Ratu believes he is more than capable of playing for the Warriors Under 20s next year, if not this season.

But it is in athletics, and specifically the shot put - though he also runs the 200m in handy time - that Togoiu has made the most surprising strides. He does not have the classic shot putter's build, weighing under 90kg, but has shown a natural power and aptitude in the sport and the school which put Val Adams on the map.

He has won two Counties Manukau schools titles, including a personal best of 14.32m, not bad for one virtually uncoached.

"I didn't know I was good at it. I just throw the shot. But I was shocked [winning the Counties Manukau titles]."

At last week's Auckland schools champs at Mt Smart, Togoiu was disappointed to place fourth in the shot and reaching the 200m semis. But he is intrigued to see how far he can go in the shot put.

- NZ Herald

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