How appropriate Caleb Burke should play in the first live televised rugby match for the St John's College 1st XV in Hastings today.

Television commentators will be keen to chat to him about his rugby heritage. While his father Paddy is a former Bay of Plenty prop his grandmother on his mother Emma's side, Sally, is a Brownlie, a relation of former All Blacks, Cyril, Maurice and Laurie. Cyril and Maurice were in the 1924 Invincibles.

"I don't know too much about them. But I will swat up on them in case the commentators quiz me about them," Burke said.

The main priority for 17-year-old No 8 Burke is to help the hosts win the "Matt Cooper Boot" trophy which is up for grabs when they take on their St John's College counterparts from Hamilton. A Year 13 student who is in his third year in the 1st XV, Burke, has yet to play in a winning boot fixture. The Hamilton school has won the boot on 11 occasions, four more than the Hastings school.


An old boy of the Hastings school, former All Black Matt Cooper, donated the boot. He has a boot in both camps as his son Harrison attended St John's College in Hamilton from 2010-'14.

A product of the Hastings Rugby and Sports age group system, Burke, has also played lock and prop at 1st XV level. He has represented the Hawke's Bay under-16 development and under-19 teams and earlier this year had a stint with the Hawke's Bay Rugby Academy.

"This year's St John's College team hasn't got the best players like the other 1st XVs I played in. But it is the best team because of the way we bonded during our trip to Chile last month," Burke said.

"Because this weekend is a first round Central North Island competition fixture I don't know too much about the Hamilton team ... both sides will be going in a little bit blind," Burke said.

Burke intends to continue his rugby career when he moves to Christchurch next year to study engineering at Canterbury University.

"Rugby is a little bit more fierce down there so that will be good," he added.

At the other end of the experience scale in the Hastings team is second five-eighth Kere Penetito. The youngest brother in a family of five brothers and two sisters, Penetito, is the fourth brother to play for the 1st XV after Roy, former Magpie Joe and fellow midfielder Duff.

The Year 11 student is a product of the Napier Old Boys Marist JAB system and played No 8 when he represented Hawke's Bay at under-16 and under-14 levels. He was also a member of the 2015 title-winning Napier Ross Shield team.

"Duff gives me a few pointers on second five-eighth play," Penetito said.

His St John's College 1st XV head coach Matt Wyatt believed Penetito boasts the ammunition to upstage what his brothers have achieved and this is a big call considering how well Joe has played as a professional in France. While Penetito has yet to decide on what career he will pursue away from rugby, like Burke, he hopes to progress to the Super Rugby ranks.

Another Penetito, Joseph, a cousin of Kere, will start at loosehead prop for the hosts.

On Wednesday Wyatt's troops were beaten 39-11 by the St Patrick's College in Wellington which dedicated the match to former student and actor Pua Magasiva who died in Wellington last weekend.

"We left a couple of key players including Caleb [Burke] at home so they would be fresh for this weekend. While we played most of our top players in the first half we were able to rest them in the second half with this weekend in mind," Wyatt said.

Cooper, who will be among the television commentators today, said he has attended some of the Hamilton team's training sessions and he noted there was no shortage of size in the squad.

"But like St John's College in Hastings they are rebuilding. It should be a close game."

For fans unable to attend today's match it will screen live on Sky Sport 1 from 12.40pm.
St John's College (Hastings): Ryan Lindeque, Liam Parker O'Brien, Max Ireland, Kere Penetito, Emanualu Lemeulu, Titiana Araia-Waaka, Mitchell McLeod, Caleb Burke, Wharewaiata Rolls, Josh Quin, Ben Gardiner, Ollie Gardiner, Caden Moat-Harvey, McKenzie Brown, Joseph Penitito. Substitutes: Dylan Homan, Talo Tuanaki, Laufili Konelio, Kemara Davis, Brad Campbell.
St John's College (Hamilton): Braydon Oakes, Eric Leiataua, Mahaki-Jay Hetet-Wairau, Hausia Vea, Joe Robwata, Devyn Sheehan, Jac Verran, Kolo Vea, Isaac Seiuli, Patrick Woodney, Cameron Street, Jared Bowe, Adam Staincliffe, Kees Mortleman, Ben Mosa'iti-Fosita. Substitutes: Alex Anderson, Jahvani Growe-Lolesi, Aiden Payne-Isaacs, Jared Iti, Te Maka Tabokaai, Salesi Salesi, Jackson Neale.