Midlands' Stewart twins have big talent
Club players heading for Stags?LOGAN SAVORY
Former All Black Paul Henderson believes twins Jordan and Sam Stewart could have a major influence on Southland rugby's future.
Henderson is coaching the Midlands Rugby Club's premier team this season and has been impressed with what he has seen in the Stewart brothers.
Jordan at No 8 scored a hat-trick of tries against top-of-the-table Star on Saturday while Sam, at hooker, was awarded the player-of-the-match honour for his standout performance.
The brothers are in their first year playing premier club rugby after they finished at Southland Boys' High School last year, where they were an important part of the school's first XV.
Henderson felt they could become important players for the Stags in years to come.
"I think Southland rugby has got to sit up and take notice of the two Stewart boys," he said.
"These guys are 18 or 19, they are the future of Southland rugby. Look, I've seen enough talent come through with the Marshalls and the Wilsons and the Cowans, guys like that. These guys need to be sorted by the Southland Rugby Union to hold them here, because they are going to be influential in Southland rugby's future. They've got the potential already and they're just 19 years old. I guess what I'm saying is the talent is here, it's up to the powers to be to handle it."
Rugby Southland academy manager Peter Skelt agreed the brothers were two promising players who they had kept a close eye on and they had been part of the system in the past.
However, he confirmed they were not currently involved in the Rugby Southland Academy setup.
It is understood ongoing off-field issues have prompted Rugby Southland to shy away from signing the two brothers at the moment.
The Stewart brothers' next outing for Midlands will be against the Eastern-Northern Barbarians in Winton on Saturday.
In other premier games on Saturday, Woodlands will host Star, and Pirates-Old Boys and Blues will square-off at Surrey Park in Invercargill.
Pirates-Old Boys' fullback Mike Molloy is another player from last year's Southland Boys' High School first XV team who has made a successful transition from schoolboy player to premier club rugby this year.
Molloy and the Stewart boys are expected to be key players when Southland send a team to the first national under-19 tournament in Taupo in September.
The tournament has been put in place by the NZRU to help with New Zealand under-20 selection, and to also help with the drop-off in players when they leave school.
It will feature 16 teams, with each of the 14 top-tier provincial unions having a team. The other two teams will be an extra Auckland side and a team made up of players in the Heartland unions.
The 16 teams will be split into four pools of four teams, who will play each other before the competition in Taupo.
Southland will be part of a South Island pool that will include Otago, Canterbury and Tasman.
The pool games will determine seedings with the top teams from each pool playing each other in Taupo, the second seeded teams playing each, and so on.
- The Southland Times