Counties Manukau Rugby academy player and Pukekohe representative Keran van Staden has been named in the New Zealand U19 team.
Van Staden, the inaugural Kieran Read Scholarship winner, is one of 30 players selected in the squad to represent New Zealand for a trip to South Africa.
The hard-working prop was blown away by his selection.
“I got the message on Thursday. I was on my way to uni and I was quite shocked. I have been injured for a while and all the emotions came to me,” Van Staden said.
I had to stop and ring my family and that was quite emotional.”
Van Staden’s selection is a testament to his natural talent and the hard work of CMRFU Head of High Performance Chad Shepherd’s academy.
“Coming to the academy has been a big change for me,” he said. “I have got a lot more bonding and friendships here and we push each other every day to be better.
“At the beginning of high school I was in the bottom team and I worked my way up.
“It is a really good start to my career. It is a big goal of mine to one day run out there for the Steelers.”
Read, who also played for New Zealand U19s on a tour to South Africa, was delighted for the youngster, who won the scholarship that bears his name.
“Keran’s selection in the New Zealand under-19 team is a huge reward for his hard work and massive for Counties Manukau Rugby too,” the former All Blacks captain said.
“I’m really excited about watching his rugby progression in the coming years.”
Van Staden assembles with the New Zealand U19 side on Sunday and departs for South Africa on Tuesday.
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