Through the high school and their subsequent relationship with Canterbury Rugby, a number of scholarships have been taken up by Cook Islands students and Dunseath says part of the purpose of his visit is to scout around for future scholarship holders.
“We still have one of our previous scholarship holders – Lewis Ponini – living in Canterbury with his original host family and studying in Christchurch,” Dunseath said.
“He is currently selected in the Canterbury Under-19 training squad with the hope of making the team and playing at the New Zealand Under-19 tournament later in the year.”
Dunseath said he was fortunate enough to coach Ponini and Josh Motu, another Cook Islander, in the school’s First XV team last year.
Currently part of the scholarship programme is Jermaine Pepe, who came into the team with limited prior rugby experience but has started every game in the Crusaders First XV Championship this season.
Pepe has recently been named a development player for the Crusaders Junior Knights and will be attending a training camp in the first week of school holidays alongside 70 of the best rugby players from the Crusaders First XV competition.
Dunseath said this is a significant achievement for Pepe as a Year 12 student.
An open training session with Dunseath will be held on Monday, July 16, starting at 5pm at the BCI Stadium. The session will include fitness and skills testing, as well as an open discussion regarding school and rugby life in Rangiora and more information about the scholarship programme.
Dunseath said anyone wishing to attend or find out more information is asked to contact Ben Koteka at Cook Islands Rugby Union.