Takairangi a step closer to NRL dream

By Ruth Smith

This week's NZRL Secondary Schools Nationals have given players the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of NRL scouts. 

But for one player who signed with Sydney Roosters it was a chance to prove why he is one of the most promising forwards in the competition.

He isn't just your average player, at just 17 years old, he towers over opposition teams.

“Overall, the tournament’s been very fun.  We knew that obviously it was going to be hard on our bodies, hard on our minds– most definitely- and it’s good that we’ve survived so far,” says Connagh Takairangi.

The captain of Westlake Boys High, Takairangi attends the Roosters player development camps yearly.  He adds the Roosters programme has helped better his game for his high school and local rugby club, Richmond.

“After day one, the boys knew that it was going to be hard over the next few days.  We had a tough competition in coming up with MAGS, unfortunately we went down and all of the belief went out the window.  Today, I think we held our ground.  We knew that it was going to be a bit tough considering we were 'versing' country boys from Tokoroa.  So, it was very good to see that the boys were in there; in the fight, in the grind and we came out with that good win,” he says.

At the tender age of 15 years old,  Takairangi signed with the Sydney Roosters, but today, the Westlake Boys prop helped his side to victory 22 - 6 against Tokoroa High School.

“I guess coming back out of the campaign when I was Year 10 for the school nationals, I had basically had it.  But I was still coming up in rep footy and that gave me the opportunity to get looked at from a scout,” Takairangi said.

Today's win for Westlake means his side will play for ninth place tomorrow against premiership winners for the last two years running, Southern Cross.  But Takairangi isn't fazed, adding his side has done well considering his school is very much rugby-orientated.

“At our school there’s a lot of politics going around, but for the league boys we’re just more passionate about playing the game that we love.  So we just come here with one goal and one goal only– it’s to get that ‘w’ at the end of the day."

Takairangi will attend his third Roosters development camp in Sydney at the end of this year.