New Royal Wolf Rugby Scholarship Recipient Named
Harry Plummer is only at the beginning of his rugby career yet he already appreciates the need to have a back-up plan if his playing days are cut short by injury.
“I’ve had a number of injury setbacks and it made me realise how easily your playing ability can be affected – you’ve got to have a plan outside of rugby,” says the 18-year-old first five-eighth who is in his final year at Auckland’s St Peters College.
Harry is the second recipient of the Royal Wolf Rugby Tertiary Scholarship and receives $10,000 every year for three years to assist with his tertiary studies.
He says the scholarship will help him put his “back-up plan in place” and he has applied to do a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and Management next year at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).
The scholarship, sponsored by shipping container specialists Royal Wolf in association with the Auckland Rugby Union Supporters Club and the Junior Rugby Foundation, is designed to give young rugby players academic and on-field opportunities as well as helping to ensure top school leavers stay in Auckland rather than moving to other provinces.
Harry says the scholarship has set him up for the future because he won’t be burdened with a student loan while he studies.
“It is a huge weight off my shoulders as I start university, and it does change your life because it means I can go through university under my own steam, and not have to rely on my parents or a student loan.
“So at the other end of it I’m not going to have a big debt. I’m really lucky and I’m looking forward to the challenge of balancing study with playing rugby.”
Harry started playing rugby when he was seven and is now one of Auckland’s top number 10s in the school boy grades.
“To be fair, I started playing rugby because it was just the norm and my mates were all playing it, but it’s become a huge passion,” he says.
Next year, as well as “getting a feel for rugby outside of school level”, he is focussed on playing for one of the Auckland Premier sides, and later in the year is aiming for the Auckland U19s side and potentially the New Zealand U20s side.
Seven players applied for the Royal Wolf scholarship in 2016 from a diverse group of colleges, including Tamaki College and Dilworth for the first time. The selection criteria is based on both academic merit and rugby potential.
Royal Wolf New Zealand Executive General Manager Paul Creighton says the quality of the seven finalists who were up for the scholarship was outstanding.
“They were all worthy recipients of the scholarship but Harry stood out for both his rugby skills and on an academic level. Royal Wolf wishes him all the best with his studies and for the upcoming 2017 season.”
Mr Creighton says Royal Wolf is already a big supporter of charity organisations and the local communities it operates in all around New Zealand, and the Auckland rugby scholarship programme is an extension of this.
“We’re always looking for ways to give something back to the community and helping to grow our finest rugby talent – both on the playing field and in the classroom – is a great opportunity and we look forward to following the progress of all of the scholarship winners.”
The first scholarship recipient, Adrian Choat, has had a busy 12 months completing the first year of his engineering degree at the University of Auckland and playing for the Waitemata Premier side and the Auckland Under 19s.
Diary Entry #1
There are some huge – you might even say momentous – events coming up for me over the next few weeks. I will complete my first semester of my university course having had four major assignments and an exam in close succession. I’m pretty sure I’ve done really well. Fingers crossed at least, because I know I was over-prepared for all due to them being my first key assignments so I wanted to nail them.
I also play my first game in nearly 7 months after Easter, having been back into the full swing of training and contact for a while now. So I’ll be looking to test myself out against fellow Royal Wolf Rugby Scholarship recipient Adrian Choat and his Waitemata club. After so long away from the playing field, I’m nervous. But the excitement of being able to play rugby again will be enough to override the nerves until game time – and then I’ll be into it.
It’s coming up three months since I moved away from home and I think routines have finally begun to sink in – and I’m becoming expert at juggling rugby, study and everything else.
My accommodation and social life is going really well, having made friends with a lot of new guys who are a mix of Rugby Academy and uni’ mates.
Although I’m enjoying living in the city, I religiously head home to Karaka at the end of each week for a lazy weekend and to see my family who I start to miss quite a bit during the longer weeks. It’s also good to get a home cooked (free) meal and get some washing done too!
The Academy is full on, but I’m really enjoying it. I’ve made huge improvements in strength, size and running, which I’m hoping will see me have a good club season and follow onto a great representative season.
I haven’t missed any lectures, training sessions, or deadlines for assessments, so I’m feeling proud of myself and the challenge will be to keep that up and make it an even stronger second semester.
I also managed to catch up with Paul Creighton and his team at Royal Wolf HQ a month back. It was awesome to learn a little more about what goes on behind the scenes at the largest shipping container supplier in Australasia. It’s a big, and growing business, and I was thrilled to meet so many of the staff.
I will be staying in touch with the Royal Wolf team, and look forward to the potential for work experience in my final year of study or work post-uni.
So all in all, I’m really busy, happy with where I’m at with both rugby and uni’, and hopefully that continues!
Diary Entry #2
It’s been busy to say the least! I’ve just finished my first semester of university and I couldn’t be more relieved – and happy – with how my assignments and exams have gone.
It helps that I’m extremely confident in all subjects I’m doing which has meant a very enjoyable and hard-working start to uni life.
Although I’m relieved to be having a break and take some time to relax and have extra down time without the worry of assignments and classes. I’ve also appeared on an AUT promotional poster which has been plastered around the campus – and it’s all a little bit weird seeing life size versions of myself around every corner!
My rugby is going well. I’m loving playing for GTEC (aka Grammar TEC) – it’s an awesome club and I’m playing with some great people.
The team has made the top eight for the second round, but it’s a tough competition which means this is where the hard work starts. I’m excited to see how we size up against the other big teams.
I haven’t missed a minute of game time as yet, and I’m happy to report my shoulder, which I had an operation on in off season, is holding up well which is even more pleasing.
Academy trainings with Auckland are constant and paying off as I am really starting to see progress in my strength, speed, skills and size. I’ve also been training in a Mitre 10 contenders squad, which involves training with the best players in Auckland and is a sure-fire way to develop my rugby further.
Outside of rugby, life is good. Family time is becoming more and more precious as I only see them two days a week. It’s tough some weeks but then again, I’m so busy I hardly have time to think about it.
Plus, there’s also exciting times ahead not only for rugby, but for university as well, and I can’t wait for the next challenges that come my way. Bring it on.
Diary Entry #3
The last few months have been the business end of the rugby season. With the conclusion of the club season, we began full training for the Auckland U19 programme that was set to compete in a tournament in Taupo.
The team was a very impressive mix of the schoolboys from last year and the younger year 2’s from the Auckland Rugby Academy. We set a benchmark for ourselves in the preseason games beating Bay of Plenty 43-5 and Counties 43-7.
We also played three regional seeding matches before tournament, which we won convincingly, beating Northland 55-0, Auckland Development 35-5 and North Harbour 57-12. Which all meant we qualified first for the tournament – no pressure - and faced Manawatu. It proved another convincing win beating them 71-5 – and I managed to score 21 points.
Despite the score line of 44-10 in the semi-final over Canterbury it proved to be a tough game (I managed 29 points). This meant we came up against Waikato in the final, for a repeat of last year’s showdown, and it was a messy but well fought 30-17 win. This was the first time Auckland had won the National U19’s tournament. I was named top point scorer with 60 points and thoroughly enjoyed playing at second-five instead of the usual number 10.
University has been great too. We’re also coming into the business end of this year too with final exams and assessments looming all too quickly. In just over a month’s time, I will have finished my first year at university and I’m proud of my achievements so far. I’m aiming for high grades in all four papers and am confident I can reach my goals with some hard work.
Outside of rugby and study, all is good. The next few weeks will mean some time away from rugby academy training and a chance to rest the body and refresh for the next cycle and end-of-year reviews.
Diary Entry #4
After playing for the Auckland U19s I was given the opportunity to play in the Mitre 10 Cup team. It was an absolute honour to put on the jersey, represent my region, and play with some world class talent.
I played three games – one in the starting line-up – against Bay Of Plenty, Tasman and Canterbury. Given the talent in those three teams it was a huge challenge but they are moments I will cherish forever.
The most memorable of the games was against Canterbury. To get a start and play a full game under lights at the home of rugby is a very special feeling. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the win but nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed it and even managed to win the Barfoot and Thompson Man of the Match award.
After a great season I’m extremely excited about next year and the opportunities ahead.
Study wise, I completed my first year of university and considering how busy the year has been this side of life has proved extremely satisfying. I managed to pass my 4 papers this semester with an A+, A, A- and a B in my respective papers. It was a challenging final few weeks with Mitre 10 commitments along with studying for exams, but I managed to pull through with grades that I am very proud of.
Next year becomes a little more interesting with how many papers I will be taking, but I’m determined to keep my studies going regardless of the work load.
Next week I fly to New Plymouth with 10 other Auckland lads for the NZ 20s development camp. I am excited to be a part of this and am looking forward to being exposed to such a prestigious team for a development camp. Fingers crossed the hard work pays off and I can progress to the second camp in March next year.
Over my downtime these last few weeks I’ve been honing my golf game – and happy to say getting better. I have recently become a member at Maungakiekie Golf Course and I’m enjoying getting out playing as much as I can in between trainings.
The Rugby Academy has started back up with off-season training and it’s good to be back in the environment.
I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to my interests this year and have followed my journey through these diaries. The support and words have helped immensely, and I am very grateful for the opportunities Royal Wolf and Auckland Rugby has provided me with.
Diary Entry #5
The start of this year has been a thoroughly enjoyable shock to the system. I have been involved full time with the Auckland Blues ITC (Interim Training Contract) programme and being around world class players, coaches and the environment in general has been an incredible experience.
Going from a few trainings a week to full days, every day at the Blues has been a huge change but it has been a great insight into what it takes to make it on the rugby field these days.
I have been involved with “playing scenario sessions” – full contact – and was selected to play against the Chiefs in our first pre-season game. However, I suffered a haematoma to my elbow which ruled me out even though it was nothing serious.
The programme with the Blues has now finished and I will be transition back into Auckland Rugby and I thoroughly look forward to that. With the new Mitre 10 coaches this year, the buzz seems to be very positive!
Study wise, in consultation with AUT, I have made the decision to do one paper in the first semester because I will potentially have commitments with the New Zealand U20s. It was a decision I thought long and hard about, but at the end of the day, I want to continue my studies but not at the expense of being over crammed with potential travels and rugby commitments.
The paper I will be studying is Management: Organisational Behaviour, which I’m sure will provide me with some strong insights into the inner workings of a company. But also, given how busy I’m going to be this year, I might learn a thing or two that I can apply to what I’m doing!
In other happenings, the NZ U20s coaches visit the regions in a few weeks to discuss how we are tracking and the next camp will be early this month.
Other than that, I’m taking things week by week and loving what I am doing.
Dairy Entry #6
It’s been a busy old few months for me. On the rugby front I’ve been involved with Blues training and games for the Blues A team, as well as games for Grammar TEC. On top of that I’ve been training for the Auckland team and involved in the NZ Under 20s camps. So there has been lots of rugby - which is good, and has kept me sharp.
Working with the Blues was a very valuable experience allowing me to learn what it takes to play at Super Rugby level – and what a typical lifestyle is for the players on a day to day basis. I feel extremely privileged and grateful for the opportunity to be involved and I look forward to any opportunities I get in the near future.
Being selected in the NZ U20 team to go to Australia for the Oceania Under 20s Rugby Tournament in April and May was also exciting news.
Unfortunately, a few weeks ago while playing for Grammar TEC I suffered a head knock and split my lip open. I was out of action with a concussion for a week and a half but managed to get back to full fitness for in time for the NZ 20s campaign.
So all up, rugby is going well and I’m enjoying the hectic training load.
My studies are going really well too. I’m thoroughly enjoying the content as part of a Management paper called Organisational Behaviour which will no doubt come in very useful when I’m out in the workforce – and as part of a rugby team for that matter.
Study could get a little hectic after the mid semester break with my classes clashing with the NZ Under 20s campaign but I’m sure I can hatch a plan and ensure I finish the course at a high level.
Outside of rugby and university, everything is running smoothly. I’m loving where I’m living and even managed to lower my golf handicap (Hahaha).
I’m happy with where I’m at, and while it’s been a busy start to the year, it’s keeping me on my toes and excited for what lies ahead.
Dairy Entry #6
It’s been a packed rugby calendar over the last few months. After the U20s Oceania tour, which we won convincingly, the final team for the Junior World Cup was named and I was fortunate enough to be selected and named as vice-captain.
We travelled to the stunning town of Saint-Cyprien, in Perpignan in Southern France, where the weather was amazing from the day we arrived.
We got straight into our campaign and were set to face Japan, Wales and Australia in our three pool matches. Each match was held at a different stadium ranging from a half hour to two-hour drive from where we were staying.
We managed to qualify top of our pool with wins over all three teams, including a hard-fought game against Australia which meant we faced France in the semi-final. Unfortunately, the home nation were a great outfit and we fell short to them and were set the task of playing South Africa in the 3rd and 4th play off.
We were hit with injuries and illness, meaning lots of boys had to pull out of the campaign, and this left us with a huge task for our last game which again we fell short of winning.
Although we were unable to reach our goal, I am forever humbled by the experiences we got overseas and being able to see some amazing places including Barcelona.
We arrived home on June 20 and I was back into university with a jolt by sitting my MGMT601 exam a few days after landing.
A few days of solid studying (and cramming) meant I came away with a A+ meaning I finished my semester with an A+ overall. I’m stoked, especially given all my travel and rugby commitments.
From a rugby perspective, I have just started back with the Auckland team and it’s great to be back in the environment.
The year so far has been very busy and will continue to get busier but that’s all part of it. I’m extremely grateful to be where I am and be surrounded by great support networks.
Diary Entry 7:
JRF Royal Wolf Tertiary Scholar - Diary Entry | Harry Plummer
Well it’s been full on to say the least! To go from an extremely successful Auckland rugby campaign to a great pre season with the Blues it has been a busy few months. The Mitre 10 championship was special, one like no other if I’m honest and the group that took it the whole way was a very strongly grouped bunch of boys, a true team. As far as debut seasons go as a contracted player you couldn’t have asked for any better!
Post M10, I ventured over to London for 2 weeks where I was primarily based with the Harlequins to gain some more knowledge about how the other side of the world plays, an initiative made possible through New Zealand rugby and the Blues. I also managed to spend a bit of time with the AB’s which was another great experience! Altogether a very worthwhile trip which made me appreciate the styles of play and how lucky I am to be a part of the style of play that is NZ rugby.
Then onto Blues. We spent 3 weeks prior to Christmas getting back into shape and put under some heavy work loads in hot conditions. The vibe around camp was awesome and everyone was very positive and looking in great nick. After an awesome break away over Christmas, we came back into Blues rearing to play some rugby and get back into pre season. The rest is history, we had our first hit out Vs. the Chiefs last week where we won 43-10 and I managed to get 50mins of rugby under my belt. This week we face the Hurricanes and the onto the Crusaders for the season opener on the 16th.
I am very excited for what my first year of super holds for me. I am learning every day and any opportunity put in front of me I am taking with both hands. I feel I am day by day developing my game and my off field personal.
As far as study goes, I am in the process with Jo Moore, Victoria Hood, AUT and Royal Wolf to try and get an online paper under my belt this semester. I am eager to continue my studies and will try and work that round the day to day life of a Super Rugby player. This will progress in the coming weeks and I will most definitely keep everyone in the loop around what options I have and the choices that are ultimately made.