New Zealand’s NRL club the Warriors have poached the son of a former All Black in a major coup, signing Wellington schoolboy Rocco Berry to a four-year deal, according to Stuff.co.nz.
The son of former All Black Marty Berry, who played 10 times in the black jersey between 1986-1993, is a talented fullback who starred for Wellington’s dominant rugby school, St Pats Silverstream’s 1st XV over the last two seasons.
The 18-year-old was selected to attend the Hurricanes under-18 training camp and the New Zealand secondary schools camp last year but did not make the final schoolboys side with still another year left to push his case.
Watch Rocco’s schoolboy highlights:
He will give up following in his father’s footsteps in Union to make a code switch in pursuit of an NRL career.
“He’s got some really good attributes on and off the field, you’ve only got to talk to him for five minutes to know he’s been raised in a very good environment,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George told Stuff.
“It’s very exciting we’ve been able to secure a son of an All Black into our league family.
“We do know that he was heavily chased by a number of rugby league and rugby clubs and to get his signature is certainly a massive privilege for our club.”
The loss of Rocco Berry to the 13-man code is a blow to the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby, but the Hurricanes are somewhat insured with one of the largest conveyor belts of talent in the country.
The franchise debuted 20-year-old midfielder Danny Toala, who can also play at fullback, earlier this season as well as finding more game time for Peter Umaga-Jensen, another midfielder with the ability to play at 15. There are often not enough jerseys to go round for the franchise in the capital who lose talent to many other Super franchises.
Berry’s move is surprising in the sense that it was the Warriors who were the NRL club able to complete the deal, as the Australian league clubs often win the signature of New Zealand’s highly-touted prospects. It was the Warriors who lost out on St Kentigern prodigy, Etene Nanai-Seturo, who was swayed by NZR and the chance to play for the All Blacks in the future before signing with the Chiefs.
The Warriors CEO extended open arms offering of sorts to rugby union players around the country, claiming there are opportunities for them with the club.
“Whether you’re a rugby union kid playing the game or rugby league, there’s opportunities here at the Warriors.”
The Season with St Pats Silverstream – Episode 3:
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