With genes like his it's fair to say Kyan Cardie-Lowe was born to shine at any sport he chooses.
A grandson of former New Zealand touch rep Honey Amner and son of former New Zealand touch rep Celeste Cardie and former Maori All Blacks, Hurricanes and Magpies rugby loosie Karl Lowe, 12-year-old Cardie-Lowe, was a popular winner of the Josh Kronfeld Medal for player-of-the-tournament when the 14th edition of the Wakely Shield under-50kg rugby tournament ended at Taradale yesterday.
That was despite his Hastings East team being beaten 31-7 by unbeaten winners Napier West in the last game of the five-day event at the Tareha Recreational Reserve.
"I knew going into that last game it was pretty close between me and a couple of others for the award. It was pretty good that it is named after an All Black who went to a school I want to go to [Hastings Boys' High School]," Cardie-Lowe said.
A Hastings Intermediate School year seven student, Cardie-Lowe, is a fourth-year rugby player and this season was a member of the Tamatea 11th grade side.
This week was his first taste of Wakely Shield play and next year he hopes to gain Ross Shield selection.
If he continues to shine as he did this week with his wide repertoire of skills he should tick that goal off. Although he is the son of a loosie Cardie-Lowe said he preferred his second five-eighth role rather than the forwards.
"I like to run the ball from everywhere like my uncle Jonah," he said referring to Magpies centre Jonah Lowe.
A handy basketballer and cricketer, Cardie-Lowe, was one of five Hastings East players to make the paper-only Wakely Shield tournament team. First five-eighth Jonty Lee, a son of former All Blacks and Magpies halfback Danny Lee, winger Ariki Edwards, lock Schalk-Willem Fourie and prop Tawhirirangi Kiripatea were the others.
Napier West coach Simon Lord, who was named coach of the tournament, saluted his team's "structured attack, brilliant defence and tight-knit whanau-type culture" as the keys to their unbeaten run. It was Napier West's third consecutive title and Lord's second as coach.
Five of his players, lock Ford Rarare, openside flanker Kace Elsworth-Robertson, No 8 Richard Magele, fullback Connor Moody and fullback Ethan Pearson gained tournament team selection. While Lord thought he may have had another couple selected he had no qualms with Cardie-Lowe earning the Josh Kronfeld Medal ahead of his Elsworth-Robertson, who scored seven tries during the week.
"Kace didn't play yesterday because of suspected broken ribs. They turned out to be badly bruised so he played today but missing yesterday's play counted against him. But Kyan had a pretty good week," Lord said.
He intends to apply for a coaching job with the Napier Ross Shield team but if he misses out he will return to the Wakely Shield.
"I might do the Saracens or Napier East because I've had my time with Napier West," he added.
Hastings East coach Dan Gallagher said a couple of crucial missed tackles proved costly for his troops against Napier West.
"Napier West stuck to their game plan well. But we still put in a pretty good team performance."
He said he doubted he would return to next year ... "but you never say never".
Elsworth-Robertson scored his second hat-trick of the week in yesterday's match and was awarded player-of-the-game honours. Centre Te Aotake Edmonds also impressed for the champs and Cardie-Lowe was the pick of the Hastings East players.
Saracens recorded their first win for the week yesterday pipping Central 12-7 in a nailbiter. Halfback Harry Campbell and flanker Marcus Hildesheim were busy for Saracens while Bailey Kittow was prominent for Central.
Napier East captured the Leahy Plate and third place courtesy of an entertaining 22-19 victory against Hastings West. Flanker Tama Pohatu and second five-eighth Sam Start were again inspirational for Napier East while tournament team hooker Preston Whatarau was again a tireless worker for Hastings West.