Wheel Black dedicated to training and getting better

Jacob Spooner, in wheelchair after a workplace accident, is pushing himself to train harder after a taste of ...
NICHOLAS MCBRIDE/FAIRFAX NZ

Jacob Spooner, in wheelchair after a workplace accident, is pushing himself to train harder after a taste of international action.

A taste of achieving their dreams has made two Wheel Blacks hungry to work harder.

Jacob Spooner and Nat Manville, both of Manawatu, made their debuts for the national wheelchair rugby team in a series against Australia this month.

Manville, 20, ended up in a wheelchair after a serious neck injury in 2014.

After a serious rugby injury in 2015, Nat Manville was selected in the Wheel Blacks.
MURRAY WILSON

After a serious rugby injury in 2015, Nat Manville was selected in the Wheel Blacks.

Spooner, 27, became a tetraplegic after an avalanche of boxes weighing 400 kilograms rained down on him at work in 2008.

READ MORE:
* Drive to become a Wheel Black gives man his life back
* Paralysed by 400kg of falling boxes
* Jacob's learning to live again
* Three years after a rugby accident, Nat Manville named in Wheel Blacks

Nearly 10 years and a lot of hard work later, he was selected to play for the Wheel Blacks.

The trans-Tasman games saw New Zealand win one game out of five.

Stuff spoke to Spooner, who was not disheartened despite the results, given Australia was world No 1 and it was the first victory over them for some years.

"It was totally different playing Australia than what it's like playing tournaments in New Zealand."

Spooner was now more motivated than ever.

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"I just want to keep training, keep on top of my health and go hard.

"I want to get faster, stronger and keep going."

Part of that training was pushing himself around the Massey University track.

"I've come a long way. I've got a lot more strength. I'm happy with where I am, but know I can be better."

Spooner said it was great being part of the team and he got to know everyone better.

"That was one of the main enjoyments."

The Wheel Blacks have another game on the Gold Coast, but Spooner was not getting his hopes up for making the squad.

In the meantime, he is focussed on a tournament in Bay of Plenty.

Spooner and Manville train at the Palmerston North Boys' High School gym on Wednesdays and were hoping to get more people involved.

 - Stuff

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