Hawke's Bay Rugby Union's development officers Krysten Cottrell and Mason Emerson warned us.

Many of the Chilean and Argentinian players on the union's latest Global Academy intake love showing their bodies off and it wasn't just because the thermometer read 29 degrees Celsius as they completed yesterday morning's training session in the Magpies Gym. These youngsters who are aged 12-18 are full of confidence.

Fifteen-year-old Argentinian lock Genaro Laborde, who hails from the Los Tarcos club, said he would be keen to play for a Hawke's Bay team in the colts division of the province's sevens tournament in Waipukurau on February 16. That's despite the fact the grade caters for players under-21.

However academy manager Ellery Wilson was quick to remind Laborde he won't be available for games that day as Wilson will be taking him and other players on the intake to a Super Rugby round one fixture that weekend.


Laborde is on a nine-week block which ends in March.

"The trainings are definitely tougher here than I thought they would be. But it's exactly what I need as I work towards my goal of making the Pumas team by the time I'm 20," Laborde said through an interpreter.

It hasn't been all hard yakka for the youngsters. At the weekend they attended the Hamilton-hosted leg of the IRB World Sevens circuit and last week they attended a Hurricanes pre-season training session.

One couldn't fault the youngsters passion for rugby and they fed off every word which came out of the mouths of former Magpies halfback Wilson, Black Ferns pivot Cottrell, Magpies winger Emerson and the union's new strength and conditioning coach Jayden Pinfold.

When Laborde was asked who his favourite All Back was he replied: "All of them."
By the end of March 50 players from Argentina and Chile will have completed an academy course.

"Basically they are here to experience the professional rugby scene in New Zealand. Players not only receive world class rugby tuition, they experience once in a lifetime New Zealand experiences," Wilson explained.

In addition to strength and conditioning, technical and tactical skills along with mental skills, nutrition and leadership is all covered during the courses. Players also complete individual one on ones with the Magpies coaches Mark Ozich and Josh Syms and have their training sessions videoed and coded for individual analysis and feedback.

An average week will consist of a 40-minute weight session followed by a cardio session in the gym each morning. Two afternoon skills-based session are held at the Napier Old Boys Marist club's Tremain Park-based.


"The boys are knackered by the end of the week. But we've been impressed by the skills the majority of them have and there are some speedsters among them," Emerson said.

"It's obvious how serious Argentina and Chile take rugby now particularly because of the Olympic status sevens has," Emerson added.

Emerson took the outside backs during the position specifics training sessions. The union's player development manager and former Magpies captain and centre Jason Soemark was in charge of the midfield backs, Magpies prop Jason Long and hooker Jacob Devery took the frontrowers, Wilson took the inside backs and Ozich, Syms and Cottrell were also involved.