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Getting to know: New Zealand U20s hooker Vernon Bason

By Liam Heagney
New Zealand U20s skipper Vernon Bason

The Baby Blacks have arrived in Cape Town for the 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship on a mission to do much better than last year. For a country with a glittering heritage in the tournament, especially in the early years when they won four in a row, seventh place in 2023 wasn’t the desired outcome for Clark Laidlaw’s squad.

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Jono Gibbes is now the coach and skippering the team is Vernon Bason, who was part of the ’23 squad and has returned for a second bite. He in back in South Africa as a more experienced player having made the NPC breakthrough at Manawatu and also leading his country to age-grade success in the recent inaugural Rugby Championship in Australia.

Before he climbed up on the roof at the DHL Stadium for a pre-tournament photoshoot, he took the RugbyPass Getting to Know Q&A and his range of answers included Jonah Lomu, MrBeast and the Scottish grandfather he never knew:

THE BASICS
Born: October 10, 2004;
Joined country age-grade: New Zealand schools 2021/22;
Club: Hurricanes academy, Manawatu;
Position: Hooker;
Height: 5ft 11;
Weight: 106kg
Boots: Adidas RS7s;
Gumshield: I don’t know the brand. It’s just one of those instrumented ones;
Headgear: Occasionally. Adidas White;
School: Fielding High.

RATE YOURSELF (out of 100)
Pace: 75;
Passing: 90;
Tackling: 90.

Fixture
World Rugby U20 Championship
Wales U20
34 - 41
Full-time
New Zealand U20
All Stats and Data

THE PAST
My favourite New Zealand player of all time is… Jonah Lomu;

Favourite try I have ever scored is… Crossfield kick into the corner back in high school;

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A rugby memory that makes me smile is… My semi-professional NPC debut for Manawatu Turbos;

The moment I realised I could make it is… New Zealand schools;

One piece of advice I would give to my younger self is… Take every opportunity head on and have no regrets, put 100 per cent into everything;

My best subject in school was… Physics;

The first player who made me fall in love with rugby is… My father. He played for Tonga back in the day;

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Growing up, my position was… Started off at second-five; got too big. Went into eight; got too short. Moved into hooker;

The coach who has most impacted my game is… Justin Lock at Fielding High, my first XV coach. He has been there since day one.

THE PRESENT
My best attributes on the field are… Ball skills;

One thing I’m doing to improve my education is… It’s on pause at the moment, but there a number of papers I will get done throughout the year without feeling the pressure of balancing it with rugby;

My favourite current New Zealand player is… Samisoni Taukei’aho;

My favourite YouTuber is… MrBeast;

My favourite training drill is… Carry and clean;

My favourite music artist is… Morgan Wallen.

THE FUTURE
A player who could go all the way is… Xavi Taele;

If I could play with anyone, I would like to play with… Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula;

I will be happy with my career if I… Have managed to crack a good amount of games at Super Rugby level;

One thing I want to add to my game is… Growing in all areas;

If I could play in any other country, I would play in… Scotland. Part of my heritage. I’m half-Scottish, half-Tongan;

One person I want to meet is… My grandfather Steven Bason. He was a Scotland man; I didn’t know him growing up and he has passed now. I’d love to meet. If I had a chance to bring him back, it would be him;

One trophy I would love to win is… The U20s World Cup.

  • Click here to sign up to RugbyPass TV for free live World Rugby U20s Championship matches from Saturday, June 29

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Comments

1 Comment
J
Jen 22 days ago

Great to read about the up and coming talent. Looking forward to watching these games and hope he goes well. I’m a bit concerned about his Scottish heritage being mentioned though, in case he gets snaffled. Also: The name of his school is spelled ‘Feilding’ - I know people are inclined to put the ‘i’ before the ‘e’ but that’s not it.

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