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Thread: Teen makes quantum leap

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    Veteran laura's Avatar
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    Teen makes quantum leap

    Teen makes quantum leap
    DAVE HUGHES
    8 May 2008


    Dane Haylett-Petty thought he was doing well six weeks ago to make Cottesloe’s first-grade team at 18.

    Imagine, then, his mixture of delight and trepidation when he learnt on Tuesday he would start his first Super 14 match, against the Hurricanes at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium tomorrow.

    Force coach John Mitchell has had his eye on the speedy winger for several years, not least because he was a teammate of Mitchell’s son Daryl in the Hale School first XV.

    Even so, Haylett-Petty was surprised to be given so much rugby responsibility just six months after completing his final school exams.

    “The coach is good with young players because he brings us through very quickly,” Haylett-Petty said.

    Injuries to others have accelerated the South African-born player’s progress into Super 14. He was on the bench for the home game against the Bulls on April 4 but was not required to play and got six minutes as a replacement against the Chiefs last Saturday, after winger Nick Cummings was carried off with a broken leg.

    With Haig Sare and Scott Staniforth also sidelined, Mitchell has had no option but to rely on the teenager to hold his own in the penultimate match of the season when the Force play at Westpac Stadium for the first time. The Force’s first Super 14 encounter with the Canes, in 2006, was at Yarrow Stadium at New Plymouth.

    “It’s exciting to get a good run,” said Haylett-Petty, whose family migrated from Durban to Perth eight years ago.

    “I only got one touch of the ball last weekend, when I caught a kick and passed to Cameron Shepherd. I cleaned out at a few rucks, too.”

    Although Haylett-Petty acknowledged his physical development was not as great as most in the competition, he was confident of coping with a Hurricanes back line containing three All Blacks.

    “Just about the best thing I’ve done at training is the grappling,” he said. “It toughens you up. When you go up against someone like Tai McIsaac, you quickly learn to adjust to the physicality of it all.

    “I’ve got a lot stronger since leaving school because of all the weight lifting, but I know I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m fully aware that I’m going from being one of the biggest players in my school team to the second smallest in this game.”

    Only teammate James O’Connor, a year younger and 13kg lighter, is a more risky prospect but the centre showed last Saturday he could handle himself just fine in Super 14.

    He made his tackles and dropped just one of the succession of high bombs with which the Chiefs tested him.

    Haylett-Petty is determined to give a good account of himself tomorrow, particularly with mentor Shepherd providing constant advice from full-back.

    “I got 50 minutes in total in the pre-season trials against the Crusaders and Reds, and I handled it OK,” he said.

    “Shep told me at the start of the season I needed to be ready in case of injuries. I thought I was too young for Super 14 and didn’t really believe him.

    “As it’s turned out, he was absolutely right.”

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  2. #2
    Champion prop53's Avatar
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    Good luck in your future

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  3. #3
    Rookie ozhammy's Avatar
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    Thought both young lads performed well above expectations...A good future for development bodes for the Force..If you are good enough you are old enough!!

    Stand up for the Ulstermen!!

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    Champion prop53's Avatar
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    your right on there ozhammy

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    Veteran BLR's Avatar
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    Moment of the round?

    ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

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