From second-five to hooker, Shilo Klein makes most of move

BACK TO FORWARD: St Andrew's College hooker Shilo Klein moved from second-five to hooker and has been selected in the New Zealand Schools side. PHOTO: Supplied.

Speed and power are two attributes needed in the modern-day hooker.

But 18-year-old Shilo Klein has something else too: He’s a natural midfielder.

The St Andrew’s College student, who moved from second-five to hooker last year, was one of 25 named in the New Zealand Schools side to play three games against two Australian and a Fijian team in Sydney.

He didn’t play in the 54-7 demolition of the Fijian Schools side on Thursday.

Christ’s College first XV captain and centre Isaiah Punivai was also named in the New Zealand Schools side.

Klein was also included in the Crusaders Academy for next year and is looking forward to making a career out of rugby.

He weighs in at 105kg and is 180cm. He’s well-suited to the forward pack, first XV co-coach Mike Johnston said.

“The skills he learnt at second-five has helped out as a hooker. He has developed some really good passing skills and lines to run out in those wider channels,” he said.

“We thought he would be a good fit in that position and that has been proved correct with his selection in the New Zealand Schools side.”

Klein, who was born in Sacramento, California, said it was a no-brainer to move into the forward pack.

“I had a lot of feedback that this position would suit my style of play. I played like a forward in the backline, I ran straight and looked for good physical go-forward,” he said.

It took him a few attempts to feel comfortable in the middle of a scrum, but now he loves it.

“In my first scrum, I felt claustrophobic, but I got used to it,” he said.

Klein captained St Andrew’s this year, leading them to fifth in the UC Championship and third in the co-ed cup in the New Zealand Barbarians first XV championship.

He moved to Christchurch when he was three with his parents, Howard and Wendy.

“I play the sport in one way or another all year round, as I play touch and sevens also. I really want to play professionally some day,” he said.

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