Tilsley chases Commonwealth Games spot

KRIS DANDO
Last updated 09:31 06/05/2014
George Tilsley
PETE McDONALD/FAIRFAX NZ
GAME ON: Tawa winger George Tilsley in action against Upper Hutt.

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George Tilsley is a bit of a nomad when it comes to rugby.

The speedy Tawa winger is back for an extended run with the premier club side after missing selection in the last two legs of New Zealand's tilt at another sevens world series title.

This year he played in the Las Vegas, Wellington, Japan and Hong Kong tournaments.

It's not hard to guess which tournament he loved most.

"Playing in front of my home crowd and family and friends in Wellington was incredible; it put all the others to sleep.

"Hong Kong was pretty awesome, but everyone wants to play here."

Tilsley, 22, lives in Palmerston North and trains at the International Rugby Academy there. He has a full sevens contract and commutes to Wellington three times a week for Tawa's training and games.

That, plus the overseas travel with the sevens, is not easy because he has a 17-month-old daughter.

"It's a challenge, that's for sure, but I'm fulfilling a dream to play rugby professionally.

"I'm having fun and doing what I love and it's a privilege.

"I just need to stay positive and keep working hard, and hope that things come my way."

His immediate goal is to make the sevens squad for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July. The fight for positions would be tough at the training camp in June, he said.

In the medium term, Tilsley is aiming for an ITM Cup contract with Wellington.

He has played at that level for Manawatu but sees himself in a Lions jersey.

Wellington coach Chris Boyd was his coach at Tawa College and Tilsley said he felt loyalty with the Tawa club.

"After training with the sevens, I feel I'm fit and fresh to play 15s and want to help the [Tawa] boys where I can.

"I'm stoked to get my blazer for 30 games [against Upper Hutt on Saturday] and although I wasn't part of the run to the two titles last year, it's a club I've been involved with since I was 17.

"It's always awesome to be back here."

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