Promising New Zealand school-boy player Jacob Kneepkens has signed with the All Blacks Sevens for two years.
The Francis Douglas High School 1st XV co-captain will move to Tauranga to join the sevens programme at the end of the school year.
In 2018 Kneepkens was a member of the New Zealand Schools squad, made the tournament team at the Condor Sevens and was MVP at the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7 tournament.
The accolades continued this year as he was named in the All Blacks Sevens Development team before returning to play in the New Zealand Schools team for a second campaign.
All Blacks Sevens Coach Clark Laidlaw said Kneepkens’ potential was clear to see.
“Jacob was part of our development programme earlier this year and we could see what a naturally talented athlete he is. And it’s not only on the field, he has a strong work ethic and is an impressive young man.
“It’s exciting to know he will be joining our environment for the next two seasons, we’re looking forward to fostering his development both on and off the field,” said Laidlaw.
Kneepkens follows in the footsteps of emerging stars including Rieko Ioane, Vilimoni Koroi and Etene Nanai-Seturo who started their professional rugby careers in the All Blacks Sevens programme.
He also follows in the footsteps of such players as the Barrett brothers and current Wellington Lions captain Duplessi Kirifi as Francis Douglas Memorial College players.
Two years ago Kneepkens caught the attention of rugby league scouts, signing an academy contract with the Parramatta Eels
The squad is preparing for the start of their 2019/2020 season which packs in 10 World Series tournaments before the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Before the first World Series event in Dubai this December the squad will compete at the annual Oceania Sevens in Fiji.
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