• Gutsy Texans loosie eyes Challenge Shield upset

Gutsy Texans loosie eyes Challenge Shield upset

Wind the clock back to the Hawke's Bay Saracens rugby team's 62-19 win over Wairarapa Bush in Masterton on Queen's Birthday.

One of the first names Magpies head coach Mark Ozich mentioned when quizzed on the Saracens standouts was 19-year-old Napier Technical No 8 Xavier McCorkindale. Despite only weighing 87kgs, McCorkindale (pictured above, photo JT Photography) produced a gutsy 20 minutes off the subs bench at lock and scored a try.

"There was a shortage of locks. I made the most of it and I couldn't drop lip for not getting to play in my regular position," McCorkindale explained. "It was a different level but enjoyable," McCorkindale recalled.

A third-year Davcon Construction building apprentice who hails from Wairoa, McCorkindale, left Wairoa College for his Year 12 and 13 studies at Napier Boys' High School but couldn't progress beyond the 2nd XV.

"I've found the love for playing again this year. Everything just seems to be working and hopefully, I can gain Magpies selection within the next two years. Hopefully, I can get up to 95kgs to boost my chances," McCorkindale said.

He is looking forward to the Texans Challenge Shield challenge in a fourth-round Maddison Trophy clash against Taradale Rugby and Sports at Tareha Recreation Reserve tomorrow.

"It's always a challenge playing Taradale but if we turn up on the day we could knock them over," McCorkindale said.

He will mark the competition's in-form No 8 Iakopo Mapu.

"Iakopo is an athlete but the bigger they are the harder they fall," McCorkindale said outlining an approach he has adopted since the first of his two seasons as a Wairoa Ross Shield rep.

While the Texans have dropped out of the top four McCorkindale hasn't discounted their chances of securing a semifinal berth.

"We just need to keep winning and hope some other results go our way," he added.  

Magpies forwards coach Josh Syms labelled McCorkindale as "a prospect for the future who just needs a bit more size."

"With his form in club rugby he was hard to ignore. He has been with us for a couple of weeks and his training ethic is outstanding. He is a really hungry driven man," Syms said.  

Texans head coach Kerry Lewis said the visitors will be at full strength apart from former Baby Blacks props Tim Farrell, who was injured during the Nash Cup campaign, East Coast prop Perrin Manuel who has to play his club footy in the East Coast region and injured former Magpies loosie Trent Boswell-Wakefield.

"We're going to give it a good crack. It's one of those games where we have nothing to lose and everything to gain," Lewis said.

Napier Old Boys Marist club chairman Terry Gittings pointed out it has been a trying week for his club members after one of their division three team players was flown to Christchurch with a spinal injury last Friday night.

Gittings said the player, who isn't being named at the family's request, will be in club members thoughts when they gather for club day on Saturday. The day will feature the 21st birthday of their Tremain Field clubrooms and NOBM will host unbeaten Maddison Trophy holders Hastings Rugby and Sports.

Other round four tussles will see Central Rugby and Sports host Clive Rugby and Sports at Waipukurau's Central Park and MAC take on Tamatea Rugby and Sports at Flaxmere Park.