Young Shannon first-five breaks into Hurricanes under-18 training squad
A young Horowhenua first-five's meteoric rise from rookie club player to regional call-up is complete.
Sean Pape has been named in the 2017 Hurricanes under-18 training squad, to take part in a five-day training camp starting on July 9.
The 58-man squad will be cut to 23, when a team to take on the Crusaders under-18s on July 15 is picked afterwards.
In his first year at the club level, Pape is the H-K club competition's top points-scorer, with 120. His points have fuelled Shannon's impressive season - they sit third on the table with one round to go before the playoffs.
Pape said he was surprised at the speed of his progress - last year he was playing second-five or fullback for the Palmerston North Boys' High School first XV, having spent the previous five years on the Sunshine Coast.
"It's pretty cool. I didn't think it would happen this year. With training last year, the hard work with the first XV was the key ... I learned a lot last year."
Pape grew up playing rugby with his friends at the Shannon Domain, and watched his father Justin, an openside flanker, represent the town.
"Dad's always tried to get me to play flanker but I never had the size," he said.
He was targeting selection for the full H-K team and a call-up to a Heartland team, but was focused on Shannon's push for a title before that.
"I think we can win the final. We've got a good team. Getting a home semifinal would be key."
Pape kicked three conversions in Shannon's 41-14 win over Athletic on Saturday. They face Wanderers at Levin Domain in Saturday's final round-robin match.
The camp will include guidance around nutrition, mental skills, physical preparation, media and leadership, alongside performance planning, technical, tactical and positional coaching.
Mackenzie Tansley and Josiah Metcalfe, former H-K junior rep players who now play in Palmerston North and Hastings respectively, have also been picked in the squad.
Hurricanes recruitment and development manager Darren Larsen said the camp took a holistic approach to educating the chosen players.
"It was incredibly tough to select the group from 293 nominations, and we are very fortunate with the amount of talented players in the Hurricanes region.
"Our hope is that the young men who attend the camp will start to understand what is needed to become a professional rugby player and to enhance themselves as individuals."