'Spiderman' Ngaluafe takes the lead in NPC buildup

STEPPING UP: Stags player Keanu Kahukura takes on the "stairway to heaven" climbing exercise.
STEPPING UP: Stags player Keanu Kahukura takes on the "stairway to heaven" climbing exercise.

Stags outside back Junior Ngaluafe is known for his speed - after all he's one of the quickest going around in Southland rugby when it comes to a foot race.

However, the 22-year-old's pace across the ground is not the only thing he can lay claim to in the speed stakes at the moment.

Yesterday, the Southland Stags conducted a mental skills session at the ILT Stadium Southland. The task centred around taking to the venue's climbing walls.

Ngaluafe led the way climbing the centrepiece wall in just 6.44 seconds, looking more like spiderman than a nervous climber.

The mental skills exercises also included climbing blindfolded, which encouraged team work.

The session was another step in the Stags buildup to their first 2014 NPC game against Bay Of Plenty in Invercargill on Friday, August 15.

The Stags will have their first preseason outing against Mid Canterbury in Oamaru tomorrow.

It will be an opportunity to build combinations, but would also be a chance for players to put their hands up for starting spots come the competition games.

It was also an important game for some players given one forward and one back would be cut from the squad following tomorrow's game.

Twenty-one halfback Scott Eade has been handed the captaincy role for the game.

Barring JP Koen, the Stags team to play Mid Canterbury will not include any of Southland's Super Rugby players. They will join the group next week.

The Stags will train at Pukerau Rugby Club today from 3.30pm with the public invited along.

The buildup will continue next week for the Stags with a two-day camp at Colac Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by their final preseason game against Otago in Alexandra next Friday.

The Southland Times