Versatile Thomas hints at bright future
Flanker Sam Thomas returned from a New Zealand under-20s volleyball tour in Asia to impress for the Manawatu under-18 team at Arena Manawatu on Saturday.
Playing on the blindside flank, Thomas smashed everything over in Manawatu's 29-6 win over Wanganui and looks to have a big future in the game.
Manawatu, without their Feilding High School first XV players, scored five tries to none, one of their tries coming while they played into the teeth of a gale in the first spell.
The extreme winds made handling difficult for the under-18s in their first hit-out, but they dominated the second half.
Standout players were Jamie Booth, Tu Toa first-five Otere Black, captain and lock Johnny Galloway and Thomas.
The team were selected by Manawatu coaches Jason O'Halloran, Wesley Clarke and academy manager Greg Fleming, with Kia Toa's Fusi Feaunati coaching them.
For their first Hurricanes competition game in two weeks, they lose four players to the New Zealand secondary schools camp - Booth, Black, prop Jordan Brown and fullback Shai Wiperi.
Manawatu 29 (Otere Black, Callum Meehan, Cruze Pene, Jamie Karatea, Corey Purdon, tries; Andrew McDougall con, Black con) Wanganui 6, HT 5-6.
The Manawatu under-20s didn't play to their optimum but still beat Wanganui 62-0 in their pre-season clash at Spriggens Park, Wanganui, on Saturday.
Had their passing clicked they would've put many more points on Wanganui. Turbos wing George Tilsley played for the under-20s and scored one of Manawatu's 10 tries.
Manawatu under-20 62 (Zeak Kelly 2, Owen Karati, Dan Law, Maleli Sau, Vili Raboiliku, James Dunlop, George Tilsley, Jade Te Rure, Tepasu Thomas, tries; Te Rure 6 con) Wanganui 0, HT 22-0. The Manawatu under-16s were without 10 regular players when they lost their warm-up game 67-40 to Hawke's Bay at Waipukurau on Saturday.
Manawatu have had no chance to practice with their full squad and had only 14 of their squad at Waipukurau.