WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: Jacob Rabai and Caleb Hopping with the State Championship Sevens trophy. CALEB Hopping and JacobRabai won back-to-back junior premierships with Hamilton, are members of the Hawthorne Club program and are now NSW teammates.
The Hawks duo have been selected in the NSW under-17s Sevens side to contest the National Championships at Ballymore on December 8-9.
Both players were identified playing for the Hawthorne Club Colts (under-20s) at the Bowral and Mudgee Sevens.
“They are exciting young players with big futures,” Hawthorne Club Sevens coach Stu Pinkertonsaid. “Pete Sarroff spoke to the NSW selectors and told them that they were among our best players and were still eligible for under-17s. After watching them, they agreed.”
Hopping plays in the second-row for the Hawks but plays mainly on the wing in Sevens.
Hawthorne duo earn NSW Sevens spots TweetFacebook Sevens stars: Caleb Hopping, Jacob Rabai “Caleb has some wheels, has ball skills and great rugby awareness,” Pinkerton said. “He doesn’t look like a big gangly kid out on the wing. Potentially, he is going to be a really good No.8”
Rabai, who lives in Medowie and attends Irrawang High,is a power-packed inside centre.
“Jacob is really good on his feet, is a strong ball runner and an excellent defender,” Pinkerton said. “They are both good kids and really dedicated.”
The Hunter duo were drafted into invitational team, Iconz, which won the State championships. They will now travel to Sydney each Sunday to train with the NSW squad.
“It is great that we are in the teamtogether,” Hopping said. “It has been a big year. We went through the competition undefeated with Hamilton and now this. I really enjoy sevens, especially the speed of the game. There are more open spaces and you get the chance to run more. We have been playing against boys older than us, which has been good. At Mudgee we played in the open division. It was a challenge but good just the same.”
The Hawthorne Club made the final of the colts division at Bowral, going down to Parramatta, and complete the inaugural program with an invitational tournament at Singleton on November 12.