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Friday 13 January 2012 | Published in Regional


An exciting year of rugby and schooling is in store for 16-year-old Jag Love of Arorangi and 17-year-old Daniel Mato of Ngatangiia who were named as the successful scholarship students to Rangiora High School just out of Christchurch.

The pair had grins from ear to ear when they found out that they were the two successful recipients of the scholarship from a group of six local boys.

While both are thrilled to be taking up the one year scholarships they are well aware that their performance in the classroom and on the field will determine the continuation of the scholarship scheme.

For Mato, the eldest son of Ratu and Polly Mato of Ngatangiia, this will be his first stint off the island and away from his family.

Im still letting the news sink in, says Mato. Its my first time leaving home.

For Jag Love, son of Seth Love and grandson of local businessman Tapi Taio, he is looking forward to experiencing Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region.

Love has already had a taste of living away from home when he attended school in Auckland.

Im keen to just get there and experience Christchurch, says Love.

The two local boys couldnt contain their excitement when Rangiora High School first 15 squad manager and scout Trevor Jones commented that its not unusual for the school team to train with players of the Canterbury Crusaders Super 15 team.

Jones says that on a number of occasions specialist training sessions were organised for the schools first 15 team and players from the Crusaders.

Jones was joined on the scouting mission to the islands by his son Kori who is also the first student of Cook Islands and Maori descent to be made head boy at the school.

Kori will also play a big role in settling the two local boys into school and rugby training as the pair will board and be cared for by the Jones family.

Proud father Ratu Mato commented that he and Jag Loves grandfather Tapi Taio have encouraged the boys to be top ambassadors when away on their year-long scholarship as the first Cook Islands scholarship students to Rangiora High School.

This is a very positive outcome for both boys, says Mato.

For Jones, it was the two local boys attitudes and self motivation that earned them the scholarships.

Young Daniel has clear goals of what he wants to do and he knows exactly what hes doing and for Jag he already has experience of schooling overseas so he knows how these things work, says Jones.

He adds that his easy natured son Kori, who has already struck up a good relationship with the two local boys, will be there to support the pair as they find their feet in Rangiora.

Love and Mato will set out for New Zealand later in the month to be on the ground in Rangiora and ready for school on February 4.