While wet weather saw them move indoors for their training session, the youngsters in the Wanganui Collegiate Under 14 and Under 15 squads still got a sense of what a professional training session is like from the Hawkes Bay Magpies brain trust yesterday.

Coaches Danny Lee, Craig Philpott and academy manager Joe Payton took the two squads through passing and attack drills at the school, as their Saracens Development team were in transit to Hawera to face Taranaki Development in a preseason game today.

Lee, the 2002 two-test All Black, told the boys that while they had originally planned a vigorous outdoor session, he knew they had been training all week for their games today, so they would get them to do some drills which helped improve timing, rather than tiring them out.

One of the schoolboys very used to Lee's sessions was his son - Collegiate Year 9 student Koby Lee.


Lee senior said they had looked at all the high schools in the Hawkes Bay, but settled on Collegiate for Koby because "it's just a good school in general".

Danny Lee, who had a long career as a professional with five provincial NPC teams and four Super Rugby franchises, learned the game while being taught by Collegiate headmaster Chris Moller when they were both at Havelock North Intermediate and then Hastings Boys High School.

It was this connection to Moller and others which led Lee to believe that Collegiate was the right fit for Koby.

Hawkes Bay have a tough task this season after winning promotion from the Mitre 10 Cup Championship division into the Premiership - although Lee has always thought it is an "unusual comp" and the two levels should be combined anyway.

"There's big challenges ahead with changes with our squad and the new rules."

Hawkes Bay is one of the few Mitre 10 Cup unions that did not trial the experimental rules at club level this year.

When playing the full Taranaki team, Lee acknowledges the success of former Collegiate school boy Stephen Perofeta.

"He's done pretty well - first year out of school makes the New Zealand Under 20's; a year young."

However, Hawkes Bay have their own talent such as Lindisfarne College player Tiaan Falcon, who pushed Perofeta for his national selections and has a big future ahead of him, Lee said.