Preparation key to churning out talent

Catch me if you can . . . Brothers (left) Reese (15) and Troy Apiti (14) train before their games on Thursday night at the Balclutha Showgrounds.


The secret why South Otago keeps supplying the Otago junior touch representative sides with talent is preparation, South Otago junior touch convener Emma Pune says.
The self›confessed ‘‘camp mum’’ of the sport said it was the passion for the sport that the committee and coaches promoted, plus the development of the young players meant another bumper crop of young talent from South Otago was heading off to represent the province at the regional and national championships this year.
“This year we are again very proud of our players. Well done to the 41 players and five South Otago coaches that have made the various teams,” Pune said.

South Otago Junior Touch convener Emma Pune.

“They are all a great bunch of young motivated people and it will be great to see them in action at Oamaru, Christchurch and later at the nationals in Rotorua.”
Brothers Troy and Reese Apiti came through from the 15›a›side code and find the training and the games fun.
Troy is in his second year in the sport while Reese only started a year ago.
“It’s pretty fun and cool that I made the under›16 mixed rep team.
‘‘It helps to keep us fit for next year’s rugby season,” Reese said.
Young coach Ben Smart (17) had the unique reward of seeing seven of his South Otago under›14 touch team make the Otago team, while he himself has made the under›18 team.
“It was pretty good to see the kids make the rep team.
‘‘It’s been a lot of fun watching them develop and get better through the short season we have had,” Ben said.
This will be Ben’s fifth year representing Otago in junior touch and he admitted that the higher you went the more intense and physical the games became, especially at national level.

Together reps . . . Brothers Reese (left) and Troy Apiti have made Otago representative teams along with 39 others from the South Otago junior touch ranks. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE