Royal Wolf Announce New Rugby Tertiary Scholarship Recipient for 2017

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.

With Simon Hickey (L) and Paul Creighton (R) Harry Plummer (C) receives the 2016 Junior Rugby Foundation Scholarship. Auckland Rugby Union Awards 2016, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. Copyright photo: David Rowland / www.photosport.nz

“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.