German exchange student Anton Segner left family behind in Frankfurt to chase the All Black dream.
“I’m still struggling to take it all in and take it all for real yet, but it’s definitely a good feeling, I’m very proud,” Segner told Fairfax.
After picking up rugby in school, Segner accepted a scholarship to study at New Zealand’s Nelson College where he quickly made the first XV and was later named captain.
Nelson College First XV manager Peter Grigg spoke of Segner’s influence both on and off the field.
“He’s showed great leadership and he’s got real mana amongst the team,” Grigg said. “All the young kids at school really look up to him.”
Segner made three appearances for the New Zealand Schools team during their tour, starting twice at openside flanker.
“It was a lot more physical, especially against Tonga, they had some pretty big players,” Segner said.
“Also just the speed of the game and the skill set was higher, I was just really fortunate to be around such a good group.”
Segner said the opportunity to be involved in the New Zealand Schools environment increased his drive to become a professional.
“For that two weeks we were treated like we were professional rugby players, some players tend to drop off because it’s too much rugby or it’s too serious, but for me it was completely the opposite.
“Just seeing the everyday life of a pro player, that’s what I want to do.”
Segner represented Germany at the Under 16 level but hopes to one day represent the All Blacks.
“The All Blacks were always my dream, to play for the best and most successful sports team in the world, that’s part of the reason I came down here.
“I thought the All Blacks are from New Zealand, so why not come down and have a crack at it here.”
In other news:
Watch the Heineken Champions Cup Final live on RugbyPass throughout Asia and Australia.