Mitchell Drummond.

Drummond makes NZ under 20 rugby team

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Mitchell Drummond’s rugby dream just keeps getting better.

The former Nelson College 1st XV captain and current Crusader, was selected in the New Zealand under-20 team last week. He will play in the Junior World Championship to be held in Auckland in June, alongside the country’s other top young stars.

Mitchell was the only Nelsonian selected in the team, with David Havilli missing selection after being involved in the wider training squad and trials.

The squad was selected following a trial in Palmerston North last Monday. He says it’s been a surreal 12 months. “When it all started to happen, I went from banging nails in one day, doing my building, to a professional footy player. Life changed pretty quickly but I’m loving it.”

He says he was determined to make the NZ under-20 squad after missing out on the NZ Schools’ team, two years ago.

“My goal was always to make the 20s team. It’s going to be pretty cool playing with guys I’ve gone through the grades with and it’s just going to be exciting. I can’t wait to get stuck into it and pull on that black jersey.”

Mitchell is the only halfback in the team that is contracted to a Super 15 team and is likely to play alongside captain and Blues first-five Simon Hickey.

He says being a part of the Crusaders environment has been a huge advantage. “Being around guys like Andy Ellis and Willie Heinz, it’s hard not to learn. I know I see things on the rugby field that I didn’t see 12 months ago. The amount I’ve learnt has been huge.”