Higher honours for first XV star


Fletcher Matthews didn’t need to move to Nelson College to further his rugby career. Having stuck with Waimea College right throughout his secondary school years, the first XV’s main attacking weapon was rewarded with selection in the New Zealand Schools Barbarian rugby team after another standout year in the green and yellow jersey.
The New Zealand Schools Barbarian team is effectively the national B team and was named on Sunday alongside the New Zealand Schools team.
While New Zealand Schools players, like Nelson College’s Tom Hill, were given text messages confirming their selection, those in the Barbarians were left to check out a press release on the NZRU website. Sitting at home, with no phone calls, on Sunday, Fletcher assumed he had missed out all together until curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see who had made the squad online.
There, amongst the 24 names included his friend Finn Hart-Strawbridge of Nelson College, and of course Fletcher Matthews of Waimea College.
Fletcher says he hasn’t felt any disappointed about missing out on the New Zealand Schools team, which travels to Australia next month, and labelled his BaaBaas selection as “a dream come true”. “It’s an awesome opportunity and I’m really excited to be part of it,” he says. “I’m not really disappointed at all I’m just excited I had the opportunity to make any of them.”
Fletcher, who has been selected as an outside back, admits he was surprised to see his name. “I was sitting there thinking I hadn’t had a call yet so I was just more interested to see who had. But there was my name and Finn Hart-Strawbridge who lives up the road. I was just over the moon when I saw that.”
Fletcher’s selection is also a big coup for Waimea College, after he considered switching to Nelson College before the Press Cup season. “That’s what I’m so proud of, staying at Waimea College with all the boys. I didn’t have to go down the road to Nelson College. It’s good for the other boys at Waimea that you can see you don’t have to go to a big school to make it.”
The New Zealand Schools Barbarians team will train in Auckland next month before taking on a schools selection side.
Fletcher has already confirmed he will stay in Nelson next year in a bid to make the Tasman Makos.