Under 18s Rugby Camp Inspires

As one of the region’s best high-school rugby players, Thames High School’s Mitchell Murphy was selected to join the Chiefs Under 18s training camp in Hamilton recently. Based at St Paul’s Collegiate, the camp was five days long, and as Mitchell writes, it wasn’t just about kicking the ball around.
The camp consisted of a lot of theory. Guest speakers educated us on a range of things including agents, drugs in sport, nutrition, health and well-being, finances and mental attitude. Along with these theory sessions, there was a lot on outdoor skills and personal development. We did game-like scenarios on one of the days.  And on the others, we had a position-specific coach take us to develop our individual skills for our positions.
Bill Cooksley, the Rugby Development Officer of Thames Valley, nominated me at the end of last season for the Under 17 player development programme. I participated in the one day programme at the start of this year. From there, I was nominated for the Under 18 camp. I didn’t expect to get in so it was a huge surprise when I did.  There were 57 players all up – from Counties Manukau, Waikato, King Country, Thames Valley, Taranaki and Bay of Plenty.  
The camp was amazing. Heaps of new people and now I get to play against them.  Although it was long days and a lot of it seemed tedious at the time, I look back on it now and see all the good it has done for me. The lessons I was taught at the camp have given me a huge insight to what I need to be aiming for and how I can get there.
I’ve got a training programme that I will be starting soon and I am hopeful I will be able to be in the Chiefs programme again next year, and from there try to make a New Zealand squad. My main priority though is that I play well for Thames High and let everything else come from there.
Long term, I would love to be able to be paid and play rugby in New Zealand but if that isn’t possible then I will most likely look to Europe.