It appears Hastings West rugby star James Craig is just as organised off the field as he is on it.
"I've got a scholarship to attend Lindisfarne College when my Year 9 studies begin next year. The long-term goals are to make the Hurricanes and All Black teams but if they don't work out I will get into business studies and accounting," a jubilant Craig said after he received the Taupo Trophy for the player of the tournament when the 115th edition of the Heinz Wattie's Hawke's Bay Primary Schools Ross Shield tournament ended in Napier on Saturday.
The Peterhead School Year 8 student scored 15 tries during the five-day tournament as his Hastings West team won the Ross Shield to beat the previous record of 13 held by Reece "Wheels" Akuhata, an older brother of his West teammate, prop Adam Akuhata, who like Craig was one of eight West players named in the Hawke's Bay Ross Shield team.
"Obviously I'm pretty happy with the record but the main goal this week was to help West win the shield. I was one of four players in the West team which finished second last year who returned this year ... we couldn't be happier," Craig said.
A centre who boasts plenty of pace, a solid fend, slick distribution skills and an outstanding work ethic on defence, Craig played alongside his cousin Derek Craig in the West team. His father Rastafara was a Ross Shield player in 2000 while his grandfather, former Hawke's Bay Unicorns rugby league centre Jamie Craig, missed selection because he was too heavy.
Craig scored four tries, two in each half, as West finished their campaign with a 50-0 win against Wairoa on Saturday. West head coach Anthony Easson carried a grin as big as Craig's after the prizegiving.
"Winning this Ross Shield was our goal from day one. We're all very pleased and very proud," Easson said.
"We used Porritt School here in Tamatea as our base throughout the week. We let the players sleep at their own homes during the week but we all met at Porritt School and travelled over to Park Island as a team. We arrived as a team and played as a team," Easson explained.
This was his third year involved with the coaching staff and his second as head coach.
"I've had a third, second and a first. I'll make a decision over the summer on whether or not I will be back next year," he added before heading to Rarotonga for a holiday with his family.
West's sportsmanship was just as classy as their play and they also took home the Ron Pierce Trophy for sportsmanship.
Defending champions Napier secured second place with a 33-14 victory over Hastings East in their final game and had six players selected in the Hawke's Bay Ross Shield team, who will take on their Wairarapa Bush counterparts in the curtainraiser to the Hawke's Bay Magpies Mitre 10 Cup clash against Manawatu at McLean Park on Sunday, and a Hawke's Bay Ross Shield Barbarians team the following week.
Central first five-eighth Rylee Ward was named captain of the team and he also won the Jarrod Cunningham Trust Trophy. The prize package for this award includes an International Rugby Academy course.
Ward's Central team also took home the Life Members Salver for the top country team at the tournament. In their final outing on Saturday Central beat the 2016 winners of the salver Dannevirke 50-0.