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New Hurricanes halfback no mystery to Rennie

Jul 10th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News, Sport


FRAE Wilson may be a new name to many rugby fans but not to the man plotting against the new Hurricanes halfback on Friday night.

Chief’s boss Dave Rennie coached Wilson and New Zealand to the Under 20 World Championship in 2009 in Japan.

Wilson’s qualities were shown even then, because he led the haka against Australia and England in the final.

Wilson (23) is likely to make his first Super Rugby start on Friday in the Hurricanes must-win game against the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium.

His father, who is also called Frae, struggled for words when he tried to describe the emotion of seeing his son lead the haka in the black jersey of New Zealand.

“It’s hard to explain how proud you feel. When he starts the chant and then all the other boys kneel on the ground and you’re boy is standing there in the middle. The hairs go up on the back of your neck.”

Injuries to Hurricane’s halfbacks TJ Perenara, Chris Smylie and Chris Eaton, means Wilson is in contention for start.

He made his debut off the bench in the 45th minute of the Hurricane’s shock 23-22 win over the Crusaders last Saturday week.

After the game, Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said Wilson will be proud of his effort.

“He’s a gutsy wee kid from Wainui and he’s been with us the whole year. He trained with TJ Perenara and they were sort of sparring buddies all year and he’s got some go in him,” Hammett said.

Hammett isn’t the only one who believes Wilson did admirably.

Mike Kenworthy, club coaching officer at Wainuiomata Rugby Club says Wilson’s achievement was something the entire suburb enjoyed.

“It’s a special buzz for everyone in the ’Nui. Everyone here is proud of their people. It makes all the hard work feel worthwhile,” says Mr Kenworthy.

“He made a couple of mistakes when he first came on [against the Crusaders] but then once he settled he did bloody well.”

John Morrissey, chairman of the Wainuiomata Rugby Club, was filled with pride when Wilson made his way onto AMI Stadium.

“It’s always very good to see a Wainui boy. It makes you very proud to see them on TV,” said Mr Morrissey.

“He went really well, he made a couple of mistakes, but he played his own game.”

However no one was more emotional than Wilson’s own father.

“We’ve said to him already that we are proud of him for his achievements and that the ’Canes and Lions are just a bonus.”

While always talented Wilson didn’t always have the physique he now possesses.

“When he went to College he was a bit chubby,” he says of his son’s time at Te Aute College.

“He was like a typical Maori boy who enjoyed his mince pies. He would come down to Wellington to play league in the weekends and play games with people like Ben Matulino.

“He got picked for a Central Districts under-16 league side and they brought in a nutritionist. Ever since then he has been the fussiest eater in the world,” Mr Wilson says.

Wilson was picked for multiple age-group representative sides in both union and league as a teenager.

“Being at the announcement where he was picked for the Under 20’s was a huge moment for his mother and I,” Mr Wilson says.

However, it isn’t his rugby achievements Mr Wilson is most proud of.

“We’re proud as punch of him as a father as well as a footballer. He hasn’t let the temptations get to him, the smoking, drinking, gambling.

“He has found a wonderful partner and has a couple of beautiful young girls.”

Mr Kenworthy shares those sentiments.

“He’s an all-round genuine person. He’s dedicated, passionate and doesn’t drink a lot. He’s a young family man, just a good bloke who won’t let you down.”

Wilson took a job at PBT Couriers while training with the Lions to provide with his family. He has aspirations of becoming a police officer when his rugby career is over.

The proud father says his son aspires to be an All Black, and Mr Kenworthy says its possible “if he keeps working hard”.




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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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