Strong and Safe – Brooklyn Tapusoa
Porirua is a hotbed of Wellington sporting talent with countless personalities enjoying success at the national and international levels. In 2020 a new generation of Porirua athletes are making waves at high school and may one day themselves become household names. College Sport Wellington went on tour to meet some of these outstanding young talents.
The Aotea College First XV was a revelation in 2019 falling one win short of a place in the National Co-Ed Top Four and regaining the Beard Trophy with a 10-0 victory over Tawa College.
Last in the Premiership in 2012 where they failed to win a single match and conceded an average of 35 points per game, Aotea won three Premier I matches last year and finished within 20 points of two top-four sides.
On July 5, Aotea tipped Porirua College 27-22 in the last grading fixture to retain their Premiership status.
Despite missing a spot at Nationals to Feilding High School last year, returning flanker and Captain Brooklyn Tapusoa identified the Hurricanes co-ed final as the highlight of the 2019 season.
“It felt different playing a team like Feilding. It was an intense first-half, but you can’t be lazy or make mistakes. They punished our errors and our heads dropped a bit, but it was awesome to play that level of rugby,” he reflected.
Aotea was on another level when they dealt with St Bernard’s College and Kapiti College by 43-7. Tapusoa is especially fond of St Bernard’s win.
“That was a tough game, harder than the score suggests. We played really exciting rugby in the second half,” he said.
The openside flanker was a member of the Wellington Under 16 development team that won the HYRC Saracens Cup in Gisborne. His excellent work ethic, leadership, and defensive hustle were essential in an Aotea engine room able to supply a prodigious talent with plenty of chances to shine.
Ropati So’oalo is a centre or wing who scored 29 tries in two seasons of Wellington competition alone and completed memorable hat-tricks in the upset 30-26 win over Wairarapa College in the Premiership and in the Wellington co-ed final against Upper Hutt College.
“Ropati is a close friend of mine. It’s awesome what he can do. He’s a role model for the team and the school,” Tapusoa acclaimed.
So’Oalo has left school which means Tapusoa will have to work even harder to emulate his favorite player Ardie Savea. Aotea he promises won’t be short of threats.
“We have some size in the forwards and good backs too. D’artagnan Wesche-Fanueli is one to watch. He’s our lock. He’s six-foot-four and really strong.”
Tapusoa has a part-time job with Downer Construction and hopes to complete a building apprenticeship with an eventual desire to join the police. When asked why he would want to join the Police force Tapusoa responded “I want to keep the community safe and help people”.
-Story courtesy of College Sport Media