Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union announced today that four players; Cassius Misa, Benet Kumeroa, Kali Vaipulu and Kohan Herbert, who have come through the Bay of Plenty Rugby High Performance program, have signed with the union for the next two seasons.
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Men's Player Development Manager, James Porter, who has been with these players from the start of their journey comments “I am incredibly proud of these four young men. They have worked very hard to get to where they are, but they are under no illusions that the hard work continues in order to establish themselves at the provincial level or higher ranks of Super rugby and further.”
Porter continues; "it's great news for the unions recruitment and retention process. The recruitment and retention process is working and is converting players with potential into fully fledged professional players. The last 2 years they have also tasted being part of the unions High Performance (HP) unit and being part of a HP environment including time with the Steamers squad. They have shown they have what it takes to make the next step.”
Herbert played for the Australian Secondary Schools in 2018 before joining the Bay. He was part of the Toa (Bay of Plenty Under 19’s) squad which created history for the union to win the 2018 Jock Hobbs National Under 19 Tournament. He then went on to play for NZ Under 20’s in 2019.
Kumeroa and Misa played in 2019 Toa team, losing narrowly to a dominant Canterbury side. In 2020 they were both part of the New Zealand U20 camps but due to Covid-19 restrictions and the cancellation of the World Rugby Tournament, were unable to press their claims for a spot in final the New Zealand U20 team. Both are currently training with the Chiefs Under 20’s programme.
Benet Kumeroa comments “I’m really excited about the next two years with the Bay. I'm also very grateful for the opportunity and the trust that the union has put in my ability. After last years uncertainty during Covid-19 delays and restrictions, I'm hopeful we can get a full season in and play some footy”.
Vaipulu was recruited in 2020 and after just one year has displayed great potential and has been given this opportunity. Vaipulu is also currently training with the Chiefs Under 20’s programme.
A hugely important aspect of any athletes success is family. All players families are very supportive and have sacrificed a lot to provide the all-round support that it takes to create a high performing athlete.
This support also includes the players Clubs who provide a welcoming, fun and motivating environment. The Club is where the boys have their mates and where they have the experiences to keep them grounded. Playing alongside guys of all ages, abilities and experience provides the opportunity for them to grow and develop both on the field and socially.
“Our clubs have done a fantastic job of nurturing our talent. Working in conjunction with our clubs is a key piece in developing athletes so we are very grateful this is operating well” says Porter.
Misa plays for Whakarewarewa, Herbert plays for Mount Maunganui and both Kumeroa and Vaipulu play for Rangiuru Senior Premier teams.
These signings follow on from other recent Toa members who have gone on to play for the Steamers; Leroy Carter, Joe Johnston, Stan van den Hoven, Emoni Narawa and Kaleb Trask who all performed well in last years Mitre 10 Cup with the Steamers in making the Premiership semi-finals.