Fair dinkum,? The next great Crusaders first five-eighth may have been unearthed in a posh Australian school
New Zealand-born Campbell Parata will cross the ditch to train with the Tasman academy, with his sights set on the New Zealand under-20 team.
The rugby.au site reckoned ‘Crusaders poach star schoolboy Parata‘, after the 18-year-old chose to enter the Crusaders system.
The Crusaders/Canterbury history of producing outstanding No. 10s, led by Dan Carter and Andrew Mehrtens, means there will be huge scrutiny on Parata.
Parata told the Daily Telegraph he always intended returning to the land of his birth – his rugby heroes are All Black legend Carter and the rising Richie Mo‘unga.
Parata‘s game has been honed by The Southport School on the Gold Coast, where he is a boarder.
Parata‘s parents moved to Perth when he was four, but have returned to Wellington.
“I grew up watching Dan Carter as my favourite player but now it‘s Richie Mo‘unga for his all-round game, that crazy running and kicking,” Parata said.
“I head to NZ in December to train in the Tasman academy. It was always the plan that I go back to NZ.”
Rugby.au reported Parata‘s management secured a deal with the Crusaders ahead of his senior year.
“He didn‘t trial for Queensland Schoolboys selection this year as a result — eliminating him from Australian Schools contention.” it reported.
Rugby Australia official Adrian Thompson said: “Don‘t get me wrong it would have been lovely to keep Campbell (but) he‘s probably a bit of a different case to the other kids that do this.
“He‘s a New Zealand kid and a lovely kid and mum and dad are really nice people but at the end of the day they‘re from New Zealand and always wanted to go back there.
“It‘s a bit different to (lock) Nick Frost who chose the Crusaders ahead of the Waratahs, for example. It was more the fact that the kid just wants to go home.”
The decision by the 2.05m Frost to join the Crusaders last year was particularly galling for Aussie rugby — his father Steve is a former ARU retention manager.