A St. John’s College student hopes to follow in the footsteps of his rugby hero and older brother, after being selected for the Hurricanes Super 20s Development Squad.
Kere Penitito is one of 45 emerging players selected from around the Hurricanes region.
The 18-year-old Centre and Wing says he was surprised and excited to hear of his inclusion earlier this month.
“Being able to be in a top team is a dream come true and a step closer towards my ultimate goal,” Kere says.
The selection comes off the back of a successful year for Kere in the school’s 1st XV rugby team, and in the Hurricanes U18 Development Camp.
The U18 Development Camp was “hugely beneficial”. “It was a really good experience, and I got a lot of leanings out of it through the classroom sessions, and different strategies.”
He underwent testing and was inducted into the Hurricanes programme in Wellington.
Twenty-six players will now be selected for the 2022 Super Rugby Under-20s tournament in Tāupo in March where they will compete against under-20 squads from the Chiefs, Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders, and NZ Barbarians.
Coming from a family of rugby players, he quickly found himself drawn to the game, and began playing in year 7 while at Saint Patrick’s School.
His older brother Joseph Penitito (28) currently plays for Rugby Club Massy Essonne in France, while his other brother Duff Penitito (24) just returned from a rugby contract in Spain.
“My older brother Joe inspired me and taught me everything through his hard work and work ethic to make it into those top teams.
“He gives me feedback on my rugby. He also supports me and the family as well which inspires me to support them as well.”
He says his parents are “very proud” of him. “They gave me a whole speech saying how they are proud of me and to always thank God.”
The dream is to represent his Samoan culture, and either play for the All Blacks or Manu Samoa. In the meantime, he plans to study Services Pathway at EIT’s Hawke’s Bay Campus in Taradale.
The school has been supportive – just encouraging me and supporting and giving me feedback and providing a lot of stuff for me.
PHOTO: St. John’s College student Kere Penitito Pictured playing for St. John’s College’s 1st XV rugby team against St Patrick’s College in June 2021. Photo/ Emma Rodger, ECR Photography.