REPRESENTATIVE HONOURS FOR JUNIOR PHANTOM
When you have just turned twelve years old and you weigh 80 kilo’s and stand about 180cm you are going to get noticed. When you combine this size with the sporting talent that Ben Nakubuwai possesses you are guaranteed to get noticed. Ben, who plays Rugby Union for the Leeton Junior Phantoms Under 13’s team has just been selected to represent the A.C.T. Provincial Brumbies at the State Championships to be played in Sydney over the June long weekend.
The Year Seven Leeton High School student went through a rigorous selection process which saw him firstly win a place in the Southern Inland Junior Rugby Union (SIJRU) Representative side. This in itself is a significant achievement and one he shared with team mates Josef Wilson, James Lott and Samuel Allen. The SIJRU team was unbeaten in a tournament in Canberra and then following a number of further trials and training runs Ben was selected in the Brumbies Provincial team. This is the highest possible representative honour for a Junior Rugby Union player in this area.
For a boy his size, Ben is quiet and relaxed with the cliché gentle giant springing immediately to mind. He is the oldest son of Fijian parents, Pio and Eseta who are both very proud and pleased to see Ben get this honour. Pio, who is well known locally after playing both codes of Rugby for a number of years for Yanco Wamoon and the Leeton Phantoms respectively, hopes there is a future for Ben in Rugby Union adding “If he keeps at it and trains hard he might go a long way.”
Ben has played Rugby for the Junior Phantoms for the past five years commencing in the U/8’s. He is very excited about being selected but remains level headed commenting that the best things about being selected is that he will “… meet new people, have fun and improve my Rugby”. He is not new to representative honours either, having won selection in the Riverina PSSA Rugby League Team last year as well as a place in the 4 by 50 metres freestyle relay team with the Riverina PSSA team.
If you thought that 80 kilo’s and 180cm are pretty big for a 12 year old, just remember that Gene Fairbanks who is a current Brumbies and Australia “A” player weighs in at 84 kilo’s and stands 174cm. I’m not quite sure what would be worse, being a 12 year old opponent trying to tackle Ben or his parents trying to feed him.