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Rugby scholarships for 2 lucky boys

Tuesday 10 January 2012 | Published in Regional

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The two scholarship students to attend Rangiora High School near Christchurch this year will be named tomorrow.

Rangiora High School first 15 rugby squad manager and Cook Islander of Aitutaki descent Trevor Jones is on the island scouting for two local talents to attend the Canterbury high school and play rugby.

He is joined by his son Kori who is also the first Maori and Cook Islander to be made head boy at the school.

The pair looked over the CVs and playing reports of six local players provided by the Cook Islands Rugby Union and last night had their first opportunity to see the boys in action during fitness training at the BCI Stadium.

Jones says that he is looking for two boys that have good academic records and attitude as well as rugby skills.

A good academic record is a key point but we are not looking for rocket scientists, says Jones.

But the boys have to achieve at school before they can play rugby.

The successful two students will need to be in Christchurch by February 4 to start the new school year and they will both be staying with Jones and his family.

For Jones, having the two Cook Islands players at home will be a great opportunity for his family to live the culture, and mutually beneficial for both his family and the local boys.

We dont always live the culture and now we will be bringing the culture to our home, says Jones.

He believes the pilot scholarship programme for Rangiora High School will work so he and his son Kori have paid their own way to Rarotonga to scout for two players.

We know its going to work and the long term goal is to come here every year to offer a scholarship for local boys and go through the same selection process we are going through now.

Although only two of the six boys that have been in training for the past six weeks will receive a scholarship, CIRU chief executive officer Ben Koteka says that boys who dont get picked will continue to be monitored for possible scholarships from other schools in New Zealand.

Fair enough if the other boys get disappointed but because they put their hands up for this scholarship this time, they are sure to be at the top of the list next time round, says Jones.

Each scholarships is estimated to be around $30,000 which pays for the students school fees, uniforms, school trips, text books and other learning materials and the boys accommodation will be paid for by their families.

Today the six players lining up for the two scholarships including Rangi Mato, Jag Love, Daniel Mato, Davey Mato, Robert Heather Jnr and Andrew Purua will play a rugby game against other talented players including Cook Islands Sport Academy students at the BCI Stadium to give Jones a better understanding of their rugby skills.

The friendly match kicks off at 5pm today. Jones expects to name the two scholarship recipients tomorrow.