“I went back last year and watched a game. I got goosebumps when I saw the team runout behind the piper,” Carlos Price reflects when revisiting his old school, Saint Kentigern College in Auckland.
There isn’t a more polarising First XV in New Zealand than the private based Pakuranga outfit. St Kent’s has won five 1A championships since 2011, an impressive record in a notoriously tough competition.
However St Kent’s has been the subject of strong criticism for their extensive scholarship program which according to many pundits creates an imbalanced competition and a lack of loyalty among players.
Was Price a mere mercenary at St Kent’s?
“It’s true it’s expensive to go to St Kent’s, but the coaching and resources are really good. I was in those dressing rooms. We were as proud and loyal as any team I have played for. To be excused as the opposite got annoying,” Price retorts.
“In 2015 we played Sacred Heart College in the semi-final and the Sacred Heart fans had a ‘Money versus Pride’ banner. That was laughable. Those playing the game know that has nothing to do with it,” he continued.
Theability to block outside distractions and quickly embrace new environments earned Price a place in the Wellington Rugby Academy. The promising halfback has already played two games for the Championship winning Wellington Lions
“I loved my time in the Lions. It’s the longest period I have had where I felt like a professional. Turning up to training every day and learning off the senior players was awesome, ” Price enthuses.
It wasn't all plain sailing for Price who battled an unusual injury for a large part of 2017.
“I haven’t had any bad injures until last year. I partially tore a ligament between my big toe and my index toe. At first it only felt niggly, but the more pressure I put on the foot, the worse it got,” Price complains.
“The injury wasn’t diagnosed properly. I needed to rest my foot,” he continued.
Price also rolled an ankle at the National Under-19 tournament in September which unfortunately was a big letdown for Wellington finishing in seventh place
“We had some really good players like Xavier Numia, Billy Proctor and Jake Quin, but I felt we played too individually and didn’t gel as a unit,” Price laments.
In 2016, Price was a member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team which beat Australian 32-22 in Auckland. A year earlier he helped St Kentigern College reach the National Top Four.
Last year Price was unlucky to miss the World U20 championships, but he is hopeful of making the 2018 event in France. Price was recently selected for the Oceania Championships in Queensland where New Zealand will tussle with Tonga, Fiji and Australia in April and May.
Xavier Roe and Jay Renton are Price’s competition for a place.
“I know Xavier well from age group rugby. He’s from the Thames Valley and I came across him a lot when I was living in the Bay of Plenty. Jay Renton is from Southland. He’s a really tidy player,” Price reveals.
Price is aligned with the Petone club whose seniors are vastly improved this season having won three matches in a row in the Swindale Shield for the first time since 2015.
On Saturday, Petone lost to unbeaten Hutt Old Boys Marist in the famous McBain Shield fixture. Petone conceded a try with the last play of the game to surrender a prize they have won won 60 times in 85 matches.
“It’s one of the biggest games of the season for Petone. The intensity at training goes up another gear and the community really gets in behind it. Hutt are very strong this year and it was disappointing to lose. However we led for large parts of the match and look forward to taking on the Eagles again,” Price concludes.
Favorite Musician - Six60.
Celebrity Crush: Billy Proctor.
Favorite Quote: “Everything happens for a reason.”
Favourite Food: A Greek Caesar Salad when I’m in Parnell or a Subway in Wellington. Favourite Player: Sam Nock