- The following story was written by Adam Julian and first published on College Sport Wellington.
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Harrison Press was the only individual from Upper Hutt to make the Hurricanes Under-18 representative squad.
The front rower at Hutt International Boys’ School (HIBS) was driven to greater heights by a non-selection at Williment Week last year.
“I train pretty much every day doing gym and fitness,” Press revealed.
“I was surprised a few more boys from Col and Stream didn’t make it, but I guess my hard work paid off in the eyes of the selectors.”
HIBS’ results haven’t been eye-catching for selectors. In the Premiership competition they’ve only won a single match and conceded 318 points in seven outings. Press is quick to stress HIBS aren’t strictly results driven.
“We’ve improved a hell of a lot since the start year. We judge ourselves on how well we’ve played, not the outcome of the score. Our skills executing under pressure have gotten a lot better as well as our attitude to win key battles.”
HIBS won a stirring battle against Aotea College in their best display of the season. In that 8-7 triumph, HIBS managed to contain Ropati So’oalo, arguably the most talented back in Wellington secondary school rugby.
“That was a fun game to play because the boys felt we could win if we really pushed ourselves,” Press reflects.
“Ropati is a pretty special talent, but our line speed in stopping the ball getting to him, or chopping him down quickly when he got it was outstanding that day.”
Press is a hooker, but has covered both loosehead and tighthead prop for HIBS this season due to a lack of depth. Press doesn’t have a strong preference for which side of the scrum he plays.
“I find loosehead easier because you can technically get above the tighthead a little easier. At tighthead your more of an anchor and have to work harder to be stable, but I really enjoy both.”
Press got a crack at hooker for the Hurricanes Under-18’s against the Blues in Taupo in their match during the school holidays. Press played the second 35 minutes in a 10-20 defeat to the Blues.
“In the first-half our energy wasn’t quite there. Our want and desire to pick it up improved in the second-half. We got a converted try, but our discipline let us down a bit,” Press rues.
Press was personally satisfied with the way he performed and his camp experience.
“The Blues hooker was a bit bigger than me, but I held my own. The camp was a great experience. It was a lot to take in, but the stuff around nutrition and mental skills was really helpful.
HIBS coach Patrick Houghton admires the contribution Press has made to the First XV this season.
“Harry has a strong work ethic. He is always first to training to work on his lineout throwing and discuss how he can improve with the coaching staff. He leads on game day with a huge number of strong carries and he also scrummages well.”
Press is a Hutt Old Boys Marist junior and house deputy at HIBS.
Press isn’t entirely certain about his plans for next year, but hinted he would like to study physical education and sports science at Otago University.