Pick on prop Dom Devine ... he's a real character.
This was the response from Napier Old Boys Marist head coach Craig Gowler when he was asked for a player to profile in the buildup to this weekend's 89th edition of the Spillane Cup New Zealand Marist rugby tournament which will be hosted by his club at Park Island.
So the question had to be put to Devine ... are you a comedian or what?
"I don't know about that. I like to keep things light as it adds to a positive team environment and I play my best when I am having fun," Devine replied.
He certainly appeared to be having fun as he helped the Hawke's Bay Magpies Wider Training Group scrum dominate the Auckland Contenders scrum during last weekend's 35-7 victory at Tremain Field.
"I did as much as I could during the 20 minutes I had," Devine recalled.
The 22-year-old Hawke's Bay Wine Company cellar hand's form in that match and background suggests he could crack the Magpies Mitre 10 Cup squad during the next two years.
He had two years in the Sacred Heart College first XV in Auckland where he was coached by former New Zealand age group representative Gus Leger and prominent scrum coach Mike Casey.
Before stepping up to the first XV Devine captained the Sacred Heart College under-15 side to an unbeaten season. During three of his four years with the Lincoln University Rams team in Canterbury they won the Christchurch division one club competition.
The former Port Ahuriri School student who was six when his family moved to Auckland, Devine, also had two years in the Canterbury under-19 team.
While an injury prevented him from going to the Taupo-hosted national tournament in his first year in 2017 he was a member of the Canterbury team which finished fourth.
"It was awesome to experience that whole tournament but I consider those three titles with the Rams to be the highlights of my rugby career," Devine explained.
While he is happy to play anywhere in the front row, Devine, will use this season to work out a preferred position.
A cousin of former NOBM premier prop Campbell Devine, Devine, completed a three-year Tourism Management degree in Christchurch and was unsure where he was heading until the cellar hand job came up.
"The NOBM club has been very accommodating and I've enjoyed my training sessions with the Magpies Wider Training Group. Depending on work and my rugby I could be back in the Bay for a while ... it's good to be back playing in front of grandparents," Devine said.
He pointed out the NOBM team's preparation for this weekend began at the start of December.
"Everyone has been really committed. We did fitness work every Tuesday and Thursday and for the past month trainings have been more rugby based. We've had a well rounded routine and I've definitely had seasons when I've been more unfit," Devine added.
Gowler is expecting Marist St Pats to be a big and physical outfit.
"We will be relying on our pace and mobility to move them around," Gowler said.
With at least eight of his first stringers injured or unavailable he is excited about the test his squad's depth will receive.
"We will be competitive and the goal is to get the title back."
Magpies flanker Will Tremain will miss the club season after shoulder surgery, lock Dan Law will also miss the season after surgery as will utility back and last season's Magpies squad outside back Saia Paese. Prop Patrick Teddy, inside backs Ellery Wilson and Johnny Lauano, fullback Liam Edwards and flanker Pouvi Fatialofa will all miss this weekend's play.
In their absence the likes of Devine, former Magpies speedster Michael Buckley and experienced loosie Chris Johnston will be key players for the hosts.
"It's fantastic to have Chris back," Gowler said referring to Johnston's suspension which ruled him out of the 2019 club season.
Napier Old Boys Marist, who last held the Spillane Cup in 2018, will take on Marist St Pats and Hastings Rugby and Sports will meet defending champions Hutt Old Boys Marist at 3pm. The respective winners will meet in tomorrow's 1pm final when the losers will clash in the playoff for third.
Hastings Rugby and Sports will miss the services of Magpies prop Jason Long who will be racing for the Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes superstock team in Auckland, Magpies outside back Neria Fomai who is attending a wedding and former Otago halfback Connor McLeod who is on the injured list. Hastings manager James Rosenberg said Magpies hooker Jacob Devery will start at second five-eighth.
Utility back Gideon Kautai, who missed most of last year's club season with a broken leg, will start at centre.
"We can't wait to see our Hastings Boys' High School first XV players from last year cope with the step up to this level," Rosenberg added.
They include Jordan Thompson-Dunn, who will start at first five-eighth, winger Joeli Rauca and promising prop Jeremiah Tuiatua.
Another four teams, Hamilton Marist and St Michaels of Rotorua and Auckland Marist and Marist St Pats B will play in the Ham Cumming Cup second division. Masterton will take on Whanganui for the Brennan Cup today.
Four teams will play in the colts grade. North Harbour Marist will meet a combined Napier-Hastings Rugby and Sports side at noon today when Auckland Marist take on Hutt Old Boys Marist.
From 11am tomorrow the respective winners will play in the final and the losers in the playoff for third.
An invitational match from 11.30am today will see Hutt Old Boys Marist take on a combined Napier Old Boys Marist-Hastings Rugby and Sports side.
Fourteen teams will play in the Spillane Netball Competition at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park today. Napier Celtics, Hastings Development and Napier Green are among six teams in the Apple Press A grade which will be decided by a round robin format.
Hastings Rugby and Sports, Napier Boston, Napier Clovers and Hastings Ed Sports are the Hawke's Bay sides in the eight-team Pak'nSave B grade which will end with 1pm finals. More than 800 players from both codes will be in action during the weekend.