This time last year Charles Alaimalo was playing rugby league in Melbourne. Twelve months later he returns to Australia as a member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools rugby team.
The flanker/lock was a standout for Hamilton Boys’ High School who won the Super 8 title and narrowly lost the National Top Four final against Hastings Boys’ High School. Alaimalo explains how he ended up in the Waikato.
“My Dad got a good job in Melbourne so that’s why we moved from Christchurch to Australia. I missed the atmosphere of First XV rugby in New Zealand. When my brother Solomon got in the Chiefs I decided to come home,” he says.
In year 11, Alaimalo started every game for St Bede’s College who won the UC Championship. Since Alaimalo left, St Bede’s hasn’t made the top four.
Solomon’s lifestyle in Hamilton wasn’t conducive for hosting a schoolboy. When the hostel at Hamilton Boys’ was full, Charles was homeless.
“I was blessed to be taken in by the Gordon family. They have looked after me very kindly. I am grateful,” Alaimalo accalims.
Former All Black Steve Gordon has three sons, Mac, Baxter and Arie, who have passed through Hamilton Boys.’
Hamilton coach Nigel Hotham was delighted to welcome Alaimalo to his squad, describing him as “a piece of gold that stumbled into our arms” and praising his worth ethic.
“Charles is a great kid who arrived here after a year of no rugby. It took him a while to adapt to tough trainings, but he 'got it' by the middle of Super 8 and was consistently our hardest working ball carrier all season. We couldn’t keep him off the field even when he was injured,” Hotham praised.
Alaimalo agrees there was a period of adjustment while settling into Hamilton.
“It's different to St Bede’s, way more intense. We train eight times a week which is tough, but the hard work pays off.”
Hamilton won the Super 8 by scoring a record number of points after a shock loss to Rotorua Boys’ High School in the Chiefs Cup final.
“It took us a while to find our combinations, but we had a really good culture. I am real happy for Tauterangi marie Kapea and Quinn Tupaea who also made the New Zealand Schools.” Alaimalo enthuses.
Tupaea has recovered from an injury sustained in the top four semi-final. Alaimalo has mixed emotions about the final.
“It was a tough game and Hastings is a real good team who deserved their win. There was a period midway through the second-half where we were attacking in their half and lost the ball. I wish I had involved myself more in that play.” Alaimalo rues.
Solomon Alaimalo played for the Chiefs against the British Lions and has appeared for Northland 16 times scoring four tries on the wing.
Hamilton BHS Record 2003-2017
Top Four Appearances: 2007 (Third), 2008 (Won), 2009 (Won), 2010 (Second), 2012 (Third), 2013 (Won), 2014 (Won), 2016 (Third), 2017 (Second)
Super 8 Winners: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 (Shared)
NZ Schools Players: 32 (Includes All Black Tawera Kerr-Barlow)
Moascar Cup Holders: 2008-2010, (17 defences), 2013-2014
Sanix World Youth Champions: 2010, 2011, 201
Condor Sevens Winners: 2006, 2008, 2015, 2016
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