"I think honesty is the best attribute I bring to leadership. I like to be straight up," Waimana Reidlinger-Kapa says.
The Mount Albert Grammar School First XV captain guided his team to a third National Top Four title this season and was selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools' team. Palmerston North Boys High School No. 8 Brayden Iose was selected as the New Zealand captain. Is the MAGS lock forward disappointed he isn't the captain?
"Not really. There were stronger candidates. I am happy to be in the team and giving it my best," he says.
MAGS were the best First XV in New Zealand. They won 18 out of 19 games on course to National glory. The previous season MAGS failed to make the 1A playoffs. What was the major difference between the 2015 and 2016 sides?
"We worked as a team. Last year there were a few individuals in the team who didn't play structure and listen," Reidlinger-Kapa reflects.
MAGS’ success was built around a monster forward pack and turning their home field into a fortress. Props Michael Palmer and Robb Cobb joined Reidlinger-Kapa in the New Zealand training squad.
"MAGS is a really prestigious field. There is a lot of history and pride playing there. The ground has a bit of a slope to so we like to use that to our advantage," Reidlinger-Kapa says.
MAGS were the only team to beat Hastings BHS. What are Reidlinger-Kapa memories of the Top Four final?
"It was a tough game, but it wasn't hugely different from the hard games in 1A. We had to keep mistakes to a minimum and stick to the game plan. It was a great feeling to win the Top Four. It made all the hard work worthwhile," he says.
MAGS destroyed Auckland Grammar School 50-0 this year. On Saturday New Zealand hosts Australia at Auckland Grammar. Can New Zealand achieve a similar result?
"Australia will be a tough side. We need to stick to our structures and play smart to win," Reidlinger-Kapa says.
On Monday Reidlinger-Kapa started in the 45-19 win against Fiji.
"Fiji was a typical Fijian side. They were very physical and played with a lot of flair. I expect Australia will be different," Reidlinger-Kapa says.
Reidlinger-Kapa is the son of a Maori father and German mother. He has a brother who is a carpenter and sister a student. He in uncertain of where he is heading in 2017.
International Schools rugby on Saturday:
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