You are currently viewing Rugby mates selected for world squad
Jason Collins, left, and Aidan Craggs are off to Thailand as part of a First XV rugby team. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Rugby mates selected for world squad

Two Hauraki Plains College students who have played rugby together for five years have both been selected for a “once in a lifetime opportunity” in Thailand.
Jason Collins, 17, and Aidan Craggs, 18, have been selected to become part of a First XV rugby team put together by players from New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Fiji.
The team will compete in the World School Festival of Rugby, held in Thailand from December 11-18.
The boys told The Profile that the news came as a surprise. They found out just two weeks ago and they’ve been hastily raising funds before they disembark on December 9.
A raffle organised by their school provided them with $600 total, but the whole trip will amount to roughly $5000 each.
“The response has been really positive over this short amount of time,” Aidan said. “We’re surprised at a few things some people have done for us.”
Jason and Aidan have been sharing the field since 2017, when they were both Year 8 students playing in an U13 squad. They continued to play rugby together before both becoming players in Hauraki Plains College’s First XV side.
The squad had a successful first season playing in the Counties Manukau competition, where they finished as runners-up.
“We pulled through and we did a lot better than a lot of people thought,” Aidan said, “so, it was good to get to the final.”
“No one had expectations for us to win the comp,” Jason added, “but we wanted to prove everybody wrong.”
The boys said it was “pretty cool” to find out that both of them had been selected for the world team.
“It’s something you dream of,” Jason said. “I could barely sleep; I was just too excited.”
The World School Festival of Rugby aims to give young, talented players the opportunity to gain international exposure and play against other players from different cultures and backgrounds.
The team Jason and Aidan are a part of is called Odyssey XV, and is an invitational side featuring players from around the world.
Jason and Aidan, who both play in the forward pack, said they were keen to see South Africa in action, as well as the team being sent from Hamilton Boys’ High School.
They’re both hoping to upskill themselves in rugby in the future, and said the sport has provided them with camaraderie and support throughout the years.
“There’s a really positive culture and it just clicks every time,” Aidan said. “It’s using rugby as the vessel more so than the actual end-goal.”
DETAILS: To help out with Aidan and Jason’s fundraising, contact Cally Collins on 021 146 3563 or email: