Asi out to make parents proud
As Sione Asi prepares to jet off to France with the New Zealand Under 20s he is determined to make his parents proud.
The 20-year-old Manawatu Turbos prop has made a positive impression with the national age grade side which is set to defend its Junior World Championship title.
Asi made his debut for the national age grade team at the Oceania tournament last month.
His performances, including a start against Fiji, were impressive enough for him to lock in his place in the team.
The three-match Turbo was buzzing as the side set off for France on Thursday.
“I know it sounds cliche, but it means so much [to pull on the black jersey],” he said.
“I want to make my parents proud. They sacrificed a lot to move to New Zealand when I was little.”
Asi will be pushing for a start in the front row on the tour.
At 1.82m and 132kg, Asi, does not lack size.
But what makes Asi unique is his mobility around the park.
It was something that he showed flashes of during his debut season with the Turbos last year.
Pulling on the green and white jersey of Manawatu marked a homecoming for Asi.
He started secondary school at St Peters College and then spent one year at Tu Toa before moving south to Otago Boys’ High School.
In 2015 he made the New Zealand Secondary Schools Barbarians, but his final year of school was ravaged with injury.
A torn meniscus in his knee meant he spent most of 2016 on the side line and when he returned to the field, he picked up a shoulder injury.
After getting back to full fitness last year, he was looking forward to a full injury-free season and targeting a bigger role with the Turbos in 2018.
“I am hoping to get some more game time for the Turbos and hopefully a Super Rugby contract.”
Manawatu players in New Zealand Under 20s
2008: Aaron Smith, Andre Taylor
2009: Aaron Cruden, Ma’afu Fia, Willie Ioane
2010: Willie Ioane
2012: Jade Te Rure, Jason Emery
2013: Jason Emery, Nick Grogan
2014: Tim Cadwallader
2015: Otere Black
2018: Sione Asi