“I’m a rugby player not Jamie Oliver,” Ridge Studd responded when asked to explain an injury which kept him out of the Under 18 Centurions representative team for a fortnight.
Studd burnt his leg badly while cooking an egg.
“I was cooking poached eggs and went to check a Mitre 10 Cup score. When I returned to the kitchen the pot was frothing. I went to switch off the element, but knocked the pot and the water spilled down my leg,” Studd recalled.
“It bloody hurt, but I only thought I needed some cold water and a bandage. When my sister got home she insisted I go to the hospital where I was told it was more serious.”
Studd is no cook, but he does have the right ingredients on a footy field. Studd was the captain of the Wellington College First XV this season, and though his team struggled, Studd’s consistency at openside flanker was recognised when he was appointed co-captain of the Under 18 Centurions. Studd provides an insight into his leadership philosophy.
“As a captain I try to lead by example and bring a die for the jersey approach. In every team there are boys who want to be in the team and boys who really don’t. Although we didn’t win many games at Wellington College, I was lucky to have the support of a lot of boys who brought the same attitude.”
The Centurions have brought a positive attitude to the Hurricanes Under 18 provincial tournament. The defending Trust Bank Central Secondary Schools Provincial champions will seek to defend their title on Saturday when they travel to Cooks Gardens to tackle Whanganui Under 18.
Whanganui have beaten Poverty Bay (51-22), East Coast (40-14) and the Hawke’s Bay Saracens (41-18) to earn top spot by a point. Whanganui is largely comprised of boys from the Collegiate First XV who had their most successful season in many years. Whanganui beat Wellington College (5-32) at the annual quadrangular tourney in July.
“Whanganui were quite niggly, and clever when they were niggly. They were quick to pounce on our mistakes and had a couple of key players who were damaging. The Fijian 8 ran it from everywhere while the 12 was good on attack and defence,” Studd observed.
The Centurions greatest strength appears to be togetherness and leadership.
“We’ve had 36 players in the team this year, all of whom are still part of the team,” Studd stresses.
“We’ve got five boys who are first year out of school and some Scots boys who have returned after their season ended. We’ve got leaders across the park which makes good playing a whole lot easier.”
The Centurions have had wins over Wairarapa Bush (36-22), the Wellington Samoans (17-12) and Horowhenua-Kapiti (62-10).
Last year, the Centurions beat Wairarapa Bush 50-10 in the final, while Whanganui were sixth out of eight teams.
Studd, fullback Bill Tamani (Tawa College) and midfielder Sage Shaw-Tait (Scots College) each scored a double in the crushing of Horowhenua-Kapiti. Better usage of territory was the telling factor in the slender success over the Samoans.
HIBS prop Harry Press (called up to the NZ Barbarians School squad) and workhorse lock Bede Brown (Rongotai College) are two forwards who have flourished in the campaign. The Centurions backline has been spearheaded by first-five Richard Evans (Hutt Valley High School).
Police detective and Tawa club affiliated Damian Rapira-Davies is the Centurions head coach. Studd concluded with affirmation for another member of the team.
“Daniel Peckston is one of our managers, not officially, but he’s one of those rare guys who does everything from folding jerseys to running touch. He’s a bit lippy, which is sometimes annoying, but we love him. Daniel’s passion for the game is what it’s all about.”
Daniel is a current student of Hutt Valley High School.
The Hurricanes U18 provinical tournament final between the Whanganui U18s and the Centurions U18s kicks off at Cooks Gardens, Whanganui on Saturday at 12.45pm.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand