Trio prepare for Kiwi challenge

Gareth Jones in action for Gosport & Fareham. Picture: Paul Jacobs (1483-6)
Gareth Jones in action for Gosport & Fareham. Picture: Paul Jacobs (1483-6)
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Three players from Gosport & Fareham are preparing to jet off for a once-in-a-lifetime spell in New Zealand.

Long-time Gosport Park team-mates Lawrence Wadham and brothers Gareth and Christian Jones are getting ready to begin a new career with the Arrowtown club.

The trio contacted the New Zealand side in August – submitting their rugby CVs before receiving a positive response.

Christian, 21, said: ‘It is a big opportunity for us, so of course I am nervous.

‘But I’m excited for all the right reasons, too.’

His brother, 24-year-old Gareth, added: ‘I’m really excited to play out there.

‘But I’m also really keen to get to know the culture and experience the lifestyle.’

Arrowtown have been corresponding with the trio through Skype and have already been extremely welcoming.

Gareth said: ‘We have already made a friend out there because of Skype!

‘They are very social and they are doing the hard work for us.’

Both brothers, who live on Fury Way in Hill Head, have played together for more than 10 years.

Gareth, who plays on the wing, took up rugby around the age of 10.

Meanwhile his brother, a centre, started when he was seven – both at Gosport & Fareham.

Christian said: ‘I’ve learnt everything I know from Gosport because I’ve been here since I was young.

‘The coaches are great and have taught me how to be disciplined.

‘We always get massive crowds at Gosport.

‘It’s a very fast-paced game but I can’t give this opportunity up.

‘I’m not too sure what to expect but I’m excited.’

Their contracts at the New Zealand side will only last a season to begin with.

But the trio are eager to impress.

Gareth said: ‘I think the standards will be higher as it’s very physical and fast-paced.

‘But I’m looking forward to playing.

‘And if you’re good enough then you will play more games.’

After stopping in Dubai for three days, Gareth, Christian and Lawrence will land in New Zealand on Friday, February 21.

Not long after settling in the trio will be taken on a three-day camping trip with their fellow Arrowtown team-mates which is tradition before every season.

It will give them a chance to bond with the team and get to know everyone.

Personal trainer Gareth said: ‘I’m looking forward to playing with new team-mates and having a fresh start out there.’

He added: ‘My parents are relaxed and supportive about the trip.

‘I’ve been away travelling before and they know this is a great opportunity.’