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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Luke Rooney welcomed to New Zealand by Patrick Osborne

Luke Rooney welcomed to New Zealand by Patrick Osborne

The ITM Cup kicked off this weekend with hard fought matches around the New Zealand. A wrap up of the best action will follow during the week, but for now heres a requested clip of a young guy making a return to Australasia.

Luke Rooney will be better known by fans of the French Top 14 as Toulons fullback from last season. In Australia, hes known as a former New South Wales, Penrith, and Kangaroos capped Rugby League winger.

Hes has now left the French port city and will be joining the Melbourne Rebels in next years Super 15. En route, the 27 year old has taken up residency as Hawkes Bays new fullback for the provincial championship, yet another path on his union learning curve.

"It is pretty hard switching codes. It's just so technical, union, compared to league. The rucks I've never experienced anything like that. I hadn't ever played union until a year and a half ago, so it's still a huge learning curve for me, says Rooney.

"League was like second nature. I've played it all my life. Here I have to kick more and it's still pretty hard to come to grips with. I think I'm going all right and I'm really enjoying it, and that's the main thing."

This weekend against Canterbury, a game that incidentally was drawn 23-23 with a late penalty kick, Rooney was welcomed to New Zealand by a youngster who himself has quite a fascinating story.

On completion of his studies, young Fijian Patrick Osborne went to Wellington to see relatives last year, but through a strange set of events, ended up being picked to play for a side in a Sevens tournament that was being watched by Canterbury academy manager Matt Sexton.

Osborne was asked to go down to them and do some tests. Very soon, a contract was being offered to him after they were so impressed with his speed, workrate, and his bravery on the wing.

As you can see in this clip, hes not too bad on defence either as he hit Rooney full on and drove him back in the tackle. Hell be one to watch out for this season, as will Rooney. The ITM Cup is great to watch so do so if you can, and keep the requests coming. The tournament will feature on RD when possible over the next few months.

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