Redmen unveil Kiwi five-eighth ahead of trial
RUGBY UNION: Grafton Redmen Rugby Union Club have bolstered their inside back stocks for the 2016 season signing Auckland University under-21s five-eighth Harry Semple.
The Bay of Plenty-born Semple arrived in Australia last week and should add some much needed depth to the Redmen who commence their Mid North Coast rugby campaign in April.
Semple said gaining overseas experience was a key factor in his decision to try his hand at rugby in Australia.
"I basically wanted overseas experience playing first grade," Semple explained.
"There's a recruitment agency in New Zealand and they put my name forward.
"The recruitment officer goes out to clubs and he told me Grafton had taken an interest in me. I told him I was keen and I'd give it a go."
Rugby in New Zealand is not just a game, it's a religion. The Kiwis have a huge appetite for the 15-a-side game with most kids dreaming of one day becoming an All Black.
For 19-year-old Semple playing rugby is what kids do growing up in the land of the long white cloud.
"It's pretty much rugby in winter and cricket in summer," he said.
"Rugby in Auckland is very strong and rugby in New Zealand means the world ... that's how we see it anyway."
Asked about Semple's signing, Grafton Redmen president Craig Howe added: "We've talked about player recruitment for a couple of years and we identified a potential gap in the five-eighth/halfback area.
"The coaches discussed it and agreed and now we have Harry joining us from Auckland which is fantastic for the club."
Semple will get his first taste of country rugby when the Redmen travel to Casino for a trial game on March 12 to contest the Hollywood Shield.
Grafton will then host Lismore on March 19 in their final trial before Mid North Coast competition kicks off on April 9.