Rotorua's Maurice Stone Jnr has been playing touch for New Zealand for 15 years, since he was 17. His efforts on the field are well documented and his sport has taken him all over the world most recently Kuala Lumpur for the 2019 Touch World Cup, but today we find out more about what went into those achievements - from what he would tell his 16-year-old self to his proudest achievement. As part of the Behind the Name feature, we get to know the Bay of Plenty's talented athletes representing New Zealand internationally.
Do you have any nicknames?
Mossy, my cousin Aneta gave me the name when I was real young because she couldn't say Maurice properly.
What is the first memory you have of touch?
Following my dad around to touch trainings and tournaments.
How did you get into your sport?
My parents played touch and took us everywhere so from a young age all we knew was the game of touch.
What do you love about touch?
The physical aspect of the game, its fast and explosive. I love the competitiveness and also it's a great game to play alongside friends and family.
What is your sporting highlight to date and why?
Probably beating Australia for the first time in a series back in 2013. But also getting to play alongside my brother (Shaquille Stone) in the New Zealand men's team at the 2011 World Cup. It's still a priviledge to continue playing together.
What has been the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on the field?
Maybe just being sent off. I can't really remember anything embarrassing.
Have you suffered any major injuries? If so, what happened?
A dislocated shoulder. I had to have keyhole surgery on my shoulder from rugby.
Sam Osborne - proving skills can be improved
What tips do you have for anyone getting into touch?
Just to enjoy the game. Don't ever forget that we all start playing it because it is fun and enjoyable.
Although there has been great achievement on the sports field, nothing can beat holding your child/children for the first time.
If you weren't playing touch what would you be doing?
Trying to play rugby haha.
Who is your favourite athlete in any code and level, and why?
Liam Messam. He is a true athlete in my eyes. The work he puts in behind the scenes is unreal. He's never forgotten where he has come from and is a huge role model for young men coming out of Rotorua that you can be an All Black if you work hard enough.
What was your very first job and what other jobs have you had in your lifetime?
First job at high school was working at Gilmours stacking shelves after school from 5-10pm. From high school I got sent to do my building apprenticeship and 14 years later I am still a builder.
What did your parents want you to be when you were younger?
They didn't really push me towards anything but always said it doesn't matter what you do son, just be a good person.
What is something you would tell your 16-year-old self?
Don't get a girlfriend and focus more on myself. Train harder and follow my then dream of being a professional rugby player.
What has been your biggest personal achievement and why?
My three children. Although there has been great achievement on the sports field, nothing can beat holding your child/children for the first time.
What five words do you think your closest friends would use to describe you?
Loyal, honest, selfless, family man.
When you're not playing or training, what are you doing?
Spending time with my kids taking them to their sporting games. I enjoy building things - furniture and what not. I also like designing clothes.
Tell us three things people may not know about you:
I'm a self-taught guitar player, I've played semi-professional rugby and I'm an awesome cook haha.