Chiefs for a day at Goodwood

Last week was one of the greatest of Harrison Bear’s life.

After returning from school camp last Wednesday, the nine-year-old got the chance to meet three of his rugby heroes – Chiefs players Hamilton Burr, Gideon Wrampling and Kaleb Trask.

Chiefs players (back, from left) Hamilton Burr, Gideon Wrampling and Kaleb Trask with (front) students Harrison Bear (left), Munesu Tsimba (right) and teacher Donna Miles.

The dream day happened thanks to his mum Lea-Anne, who won a competition run by Ingham Hyundai and nominated Goodwood School for a visit from the sports stars.

After arriving at 1.30pm last Thursday, the players attended a whole-school assembly and answered student questions.

Burr, a towering loose forward who lives in Cambridge and plays for Hautapu, said he had moved to New Zealand from Scotland five years ago to play for the Chiefs.  He grew up playing football and could eat 12 Weetbix.

Wrampling, a utility back, said he loved cookies and reading and his sporting hero was Michael Jordan.  He liked to recover from games by taking his dog for a walk and soaking in water.

Trask, a first five-eighth, told students he felt “quite nervous” before games and liked to listen to music.  Currently injured, he said he would love to get back on the field playing and have a crack at making the All Blacks.

After assembly the Chiefs players treated about 40 students to an outdoor skills and drills session.

Bear loved the experience and said they had taught him to “have fun and keep passing quicker”.

The year five student had been a Chiefs fan since he was two years old and had played rugby since he was five, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and brother at Hautapu Sports Club.

He and classmate Munesu Tsimba, who got a piggyback from Wrampling during one game, love talking sport with their teacher, Donna Miles.

“Every single Monday morning we unpack all the sport that’s happened over the weekend,” said Miles, a passionate Crusaders supporter.

She said it was “amazing” to have Burr, Wrampling and Trask at the school.

“I would have preferred some of the Crusaders team, but that’s okay,” she said.

“Last year we had a huge debate in the classroom about which was the best team and of course they faced each other at the end of the season.  There was me and one other person in the whole school who were Crusaders fans and all the rest were Chiefs fans.  However, this season things aren’t going quite as well as we’d like, but I said to the children, they need my support even more now.”

Principal David Graham said the visit had been a fantastic experience for students.

“For students to see their heroes up close and be able to ask them personal questions like how many Weetbix they eat is special,” he said.

Nine-year-old Munesu Tsimba wins a game of ‘paper, scissors, rock’ with Chiefs rugby player Gideon Wrampling at Goodwood School last Thursday.

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