Young touch players putting their school on the world stage

By James Perry

Manukura School didn't exist the last time the Touch Youth World Cup was held in 2005.  The Manawatū school however has three students heading to Malaysia in August as the tournament is revived after 13 years.

Pōtene Rolls-Paewai has been selected in the men's U18 team, and Selena Williams-Paap in the women's side.

Williams-Paap says it is a "privilege and an accomplishment" to be representing their school on the world stage. 

She says the "small Māori school" specialises in sports, and it is great to get their name out for sports other than rugby or netball. 

The school has produced plenty of talent in their short history, including Māori All Black Otere Black, Black Fern Charmaine Smith and Mainland Tactix shooter Brooke Leaver.

Rolls-Paewai has been selected in the men's U18 side.  He says he is humbled to be selected in the squad, and his focus is getting settled into the team.  He says, "It's real good knowing that I made the team," and now the opportunity to "come out and train get to know everyone," is exciting.

The NZ squads have been preparing for the Touch Youth World Cup in Malaysia in August.

Both Rolls-Paewai and Williams-Paap are unsure what to expect when they arrive in the Malaysian summer.  Rolls-Paewai has heard it is hot, and is expecting to get tired, but if "[I] keep up my fitness, I should be all good."

Williams-Paap however says it's "kind of scary... I don't know how I'll cope.  I don't think I'll cope, but I will try my best." 

The third of the Manukura trio is Alyssa Mataiti, who is in the U18 mixed side. 

The tournament was last played in 2005, and New Zealand are the defending champions. 

The Youth World Cup will take place in Kuala Lumpur from the 8th of August.