Lincoln combined flanker off to NZ Maori Camp

HARD WORKER: Keenan Pluck has been rewarded for a stellar season with Lincoln Combined by being named in the New Zealand Maori under-18 squad. Photo: Felicity Pluck

Lincoln Combined flanker Keanan Pluck will get his first taste of a national rugby set up with the Maori under-18 squad.

The Rolleston teen has been one of the best in a talented, yet under-sized forward pack which has helped their team to a top four spot in the UC Championship.

“We try to hit the rucks hard and make an impact with what we have,” Pluck said. He said the team was thriving on being considered underdogs.

“Teams turn up to our place and think we aren’t up to much and then we show them,” he said.

The 17-year-old has made the 40-man squad for a three day training camp in Rotorua from July 16.

Pluck, who is in his second season with the Lincoln Combined side, but his first as a regular starter, said he was looking forward to getting in touch with the Maori culture and playing alongside some top players.

“It’s a great experience for me to learn and grow as a player and since it’s my first national squad, it’ll be good to test myself against players from other areas including the North Island,” he said. Pluck started playing rugby after an agreement with a friend when he was 11-years-old.

“I had played soccer for a season but then my friend said I should try rugby and I’ve loved it ever since,” he said.