Aucklanders eye Southland Stags
Jack Falloon is among the latest batch of young Auckland rugby players to head south to try to crack New Zealand's provincial rugby competition through the Stags.
Falloon was the St Kentigern College First XV captain last season and was a potential New Zealand secondary schools contender before a hip injury forced him out of action midway through the season.
In 2012 he was part of the New Zealand Barbarians schools team, which is a development side, and is currently part of the wider New Zealand squad preparing for this year's under-20 world championship in New Zealand.
In the past two weeks he has had his first taste of Southland, playing for Woodlands in the opening rounds of the club season.
He has played most of his rugby at lock but the New Zealand under-20 selectors see his future as a blindside flanker, believing at 1.9 metres tall he's probably not tall enough for the second row.
Rugby Southland staff are comfortable with him spending time playing in both positions at the moment, he said.
Why Southland for Jack Falloon?
Like many of the youngsters who have headed south in recent years to play their rugby, he says less competition for places in Southland is an attraction as it is easy to get lost in the Auckland system.
Watching the likes of Tayler Adams progress rapidly to the Stags in the past couple of years after his move from Auckland got Falloon thinking.
"I'm living with guys like Tayler Adams down here and I used to play against them at school."
Falloon, 19, is one of two players from last year's St Kentigern First XV who have moved to Southland this year. The other is prop Jethro Felemi, who is playing for Marist.
Falloon conceded it was a bit of an Auckland influx, with Blues also having Bill Fukafuka, a promising loose forward from Auckland's Tangaroa College, in their ranks.
At the moment Falloon is doing a building course through the Southern Institute of Technology. His goal is to crack the Stags squad this year but concedes he's still finding his feet.
"I don't mind if I don't get too much game time, I'm still young. This is my first season playing men's rugby."
The young lock's next assignment with Woodlands will be against Blues at Blues on Saturday.
In other premier games on Saturday Marist host Midlands and Star head to Gore to take on the Eastern-Northern Barbarians.
In the premier division one cross-over match Pirates-Old Boys and Tokanui will square off in Tokanui.