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At just 26, New Brighton rugby’s newest centurion believes he’s got plenty more miles left on the clock.
Loose forward Ryan Hooper (pictured right with his son Pierce) yesterday celebrated his 100th senior match with a win on home soil against Lincoln University.
The man nicknamed “Hoops” had a busy game on defence and had a hand in the team’s final try.
“It was so special to play that (100th) game at home, and to win in the fashion we did was awesome. I’ve got to applaud the boys for that effort,” he said after the game.
“I felt the play didn’t really go my way, so I just tried to gee the boys up.”
Hooper says he has been fortunate to be part one of the club’s must successful eras, playing alongside the likes of Isaac Ross, Ben May, and Tyson and Jamyn Keats.
“The personnel that I’ve played around has been pretty awesome. It’s a milestone just to play one senior game.”
Hooper is a life-long New Brighton man, having played his first game for the club at age four, and is in his sixth season in the senior side.
“I was playing Colts 2 and one of the coaches gave me the opportunity to play in a 10s tournament. I got around such good personnel and they guided me where I am now.”
Having reaching his ton, and despite supporting a young family, Hooper shows no signs of hanging up the boots anytime soon.
“You see Knuckles (prop Nick McMullan) out there, and he’s 42, so I could be knocking on the door of Knuckles. I’m still enjoying it, so we’ll see.”
New Brighton, like many clubs in Christchurch’s eastern suburbs, was affected by the February earthquake.
However, Hooper says the club spirit remains strong.
“A lot of people have lost jobs and have been put out of homes, but we’re a tight-knit community and club.”
New Brighton were also the first recipients of the Kevin Lundon Trophy in their 20-3 win over Lincoln University. Pictured right with New Brighton Captain Mitch Alcock and Lincoln University Captain Berny Hall, Kevin Lundon has donated the trophy to be played for annually between the sides. Lundon is the current Club Captain of New Brighton and has also been Club Captain of the former Merivale Lincoln University Club.
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