Normal lessons were replaced by a chance to take on some Taranaki Bulls players at a Stratford school last week.

Pupils at St Joseph's were visited by five Bulls players as well as popular team mascot Ferdie the Bull on Friday last week.

Once Ferdie had taught the youngsters the all important battle cry: "AAOOAA" the players answered a range of questions from the pupils.

Questions ranged from their favourite pitch to play on (obviously the bullring) and whether they played in the sandpit or playground at school (it was a close call but the playground won 3-2).


For one of the players, visiting the school was a walk down memory lane.

Jayson Potroz, a full-back for the team, attended St Joseph's when he was younger.

"And I have a nephew and niece here right now."

Jayson wasn't the only visiting player to have a school connection in the area.

Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, a loose forward for the team, attended Whangamomona school as a child.

The pupils also got to play a game of seaweed with the players.

As well as seeing the kids, the Bulls players and Ferdie went to the school to deliver some special news to one pupil.

Room five pupil Harland Hancock, 7, had won The Hits Player of the Day competition, something he didn't know until Ferdie called him out the front to be presented with a jersey and rugby ball.


The Hits Player of the Day competition asks people to nominate a child to be selected to lead the team on to the pitch for a home game.

Once Harland got over his surprise, he was excited about being picked.

"It's quite cool that I got picked to be the Player of the Day. I really like rugby, I watch all of the Taranaki Bull's rugby games."

Harland says he likes all the Taranaki Bulls players, but his favourites are Waisake and Kini Naholo.

Harland's mum Kylie Hancock entered Harland in the competition through The Hits website.

"I'm so happy for him. He's rugby mad. He'll be pretty excited," Kylie said.

Harland won the Under 8s player of the year Ethan Kowalewski Trophy for rugby this year. The trophy is named after Elthan Kowalweski, a St Joseph's pupil who died when he was 7 years old.

"It is a very special trophy," Kylie says.

As well as watching the Taranaki Bulls games, Harland is a big fan of the All Blacks.

"I think they're going to do well in the World Cup."

■ To enter your child in The Hits Player of the Day competition, head to and find Taranaki under the win page. There's an entry form there where you can tell them all about your rugby-mad kid!