Eru Cooper TahuriEru Cooper - Tahuri. Photo suppliedAnother Mid Canterbury rugby player is hoping to make his name on the big stage next week.

Eru Cooper-Tahuri was named to play in the New Zealand Maori under 18 side that will play two games next week.

“I found out a week ago, I got a call at 9.30am from one of the guys who is involved with the New Zealand Maori,” he said.

“He rung me to tell me and congratulate me, I was a bit speechless.

“I’ve had a few clubmates and friends and family get in touch to say congratulations.”

Cooper-Tahuri worked his way into the side from the South Island Maori side, after playing two games in Rotorua.

“There was a training camp which the South Island Maori were selected from, and then we played games against two other sides,” he said.

“From there they selected the two teams.”

Apart from time spent playing basketball, rugby has always been the number one sport for Cooper-Tahuri, who first started playing rippa rugby before age five.

When it comes to the reason why he loves rugby and keeps playing it, the answer is simple.

“Just the whole team part of it all.

“You are out there as a team and not just by yourself, and everyone is friendly and it is a great team atmosphere,” he said.

“And the physicality keeps it interesting.”

The halfback played this season for the Celtic Colts side, before jumping into the Canterbury Maori side once the season finished.

Cooper-Tahuri also made an appearance for the Mid Canterbury Colts side in their first game of the season against Ellesmere off the bench, picking up a yellow card.

“That was my first card of the season which was a bit annoying,” he said.

When it comes to players to look up to, the All Blacks are the obvious choice.

“If I had to say someone it would be Aaron Smith.

“He has had a big influence on me, but just anyone that has pulled on the black jersey in general.

“It is a big goal for me as a player,” he said.

Making it to the top in any sport requires work, and Cooper-Tahuri has been putting in the hard yards.

“By myself I do a bit of cardio and a lot of skill related stuff,” he said.

“Usually I do it whenever I can or in between trainings, so basically every day.”

Tahuri will travel to Levin tomorrow to join the team, before playing two games next week, one on Monday against the New Zealand Schools’ Barbarians, and the other on Friday against the Tongan Schools’ side.

“I am expecting there to be a real competitive edge, not just from the opposition but also in the team against the guy I am competing against in my position,” he said.

“It is going to be hard but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

The 18-year-old, whose lineage covers Ngati Kahungungu, Ngai Tuhoe and Nga Rauru, said he hopes the tournament will be chance to build a platform to base his rugby career from.

“It is something I want to take really far and hopefully this will be something that can help me do that,” he said.

By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 27 September 2017

Josh Lowe Basketball v BurnsideAshburton College’s Josh Lowe attempts to block a shot in his side’s 83-72 loss to Burnside in the final of the Canterbury Basketball Association’s U-20 competition.The Ashburton College senior boys’ team was a beaten finalist in the Canterbury Basketball Association’s under 20 competition on Saturday, but it was a close-fought battle with winners Burnside.

The two teams have duelled several times this season in the under 20 and school competition with Burnside continuing its narrow advantage 83-72 at Cowles Stadium.

AshColl held a 40-33 lead at half-time and was up 57-50 at three-quarter time, but a massive push by Burnside in the final 10 minutes gave them the trophy.

“The final was a very evenly played game for three-quarters as both teams went point for point, said AshColl coach Pip Johnston.

“Both teams would have a couple of runs and try to pull away but every time this happened the other team would rally back and close the gap.

“Heading into the fourth quarter we were up and the boys were playing really well until Burnside got the better of us and started to make shots and we couldn’t hit anything.

“We had one last crack at them with two minutes to go and down by six, we got fouled and went to the line.

“Then we were down by four but Burnside turned up the heat and splashed two 3s to put them up by 10.

“The boys were deflated and couldn’t bring it back.”

Top scorers for AshColl were Fletcher Arnold on 20 points and Josh Lowe on 19.

Arnold was named in the grade’s first five.

“Overall I’m very proud of making the final in our first year and thought the boys played their hearts out.

“A huge thank you to all the parents and friends of the boys that came up to watch and cheer us on,” said Johnston.

AshColl played under Basketball Mid Canterbury as a club side in the Saturday competition, which involved travelling to Christchurch for 17 games since the season started in April.

While the extra game time helped the team’s performance in the school-based Thompson Trophy competition, it also exposed the players to playing possibilities once they leave college.

Johnston himself has played in the Canterbury premier competition since leaving school; he put that aside this year to concentrate on coaching.

“The boys have put in a lot of hard work over the season.

“The sky’s the limit.”

© The Ashburton Guardian - 26 September 2017

Hugh DonaldsonAshburton water skier Hugh Donaldson attempts a flip in one of his trick runs at the World Open Championships in Paris. Photo SuppliedAshburton water skier Hugh Donaldson has come away from his first ever World Open Championships with some pleasing results.

Part of the team of six New Zealand skiers that competed at the event, Donaldson was the highest scoring member of the team, finishing 18th in the overall standings for men.

With the choppy conditions in Choisy-le-Roi, Paris, proving challenging, many skiers struggled to match personal bests.

“Ryan Dodd, who is the world record holder for the jump, which he set this year, was nine metres off his best, so when Hugh was only two metres off his personal best, that is pretty impressive,” mum Janeen said.

Donaldson’s best score came in the jump event, posting a score 587.79, while also posting a 539.22 in the slalom.

A fall on one tricks run limited his score to 372.38, giving him a total score of 1499.39, only 4.1 points behind the 17th placed Spaniard Noguera Vergés Lluís.

“It was an amazing experience, it was a really big thing over there. The event was structured around the television schedule and there was high up diplomats there,” she said.

“They bussed in school kids to cheer on the French skiers and the support was really big, especially on the weekends.

“For the prize giving, the bus was running late because of the French team, so we had a police escort through the city. It would have normally been an hour’s  drive but instead it only took 20 minutes, and that was pretty special.”

Despite it being his first senior world championships, Hugh said nerves were not an issue.

“I was probably more nervous for the junior worlds. There I was just going to ski and see how I went,” he said.

Mum Janeen said the focus would now switch back to school, before the big events such as the Australia New Zealands and the Oceania Championship are held in the first third of next year.

By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 22 September 2017