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Zephaniah Lototau, rugby star on the rise


Watching in admiration as the All Blacks played on TV, a young Zephaniah Lototau looked on and dreamt that one day, he too would be able to pull on the prestigious black jersey. Now, people marvel at the staggering records the Year 8 student has broken on the track and his dedication and thrilling play on the rugby field. From the age of eight, he began playing rugby union after switching from rugby league with the Otara Scorpions.

Zephaniah broke a combined eight school records at last year and this year’s Athletics Day, spread across discus, the 100m and 200m sprints as well as the long jump and high jump. Representing the Pakurganga United Rugby Club, Zephaniah also made the 2019 Bill McLaren U13 East rugby team.

“It was scary because you had massive guys running at you, but it was fun.” Zephaniah says. Despite his team only winning a single game during the tournament, the experience to go up against great competition and enjoy the ride with his teammates was very rewarding.

His journey to playing at a representative level, has, though, come with its challenges, including a back injury and concussion which he sustained while he was snowboarding. But it hasn’t stopped him from wanting to play the game and continuing to reach new heights.

He’s a jack of all trades, playing as an openside and blindside flanker, number eight and as an inside

centre. A representation of just how talented he is. His ability to achieve all these things comes down to his commitment and turning up to trainings every day with the same energy as before running out for a game, prior to which he always makes sure to have a bowl of nutri-grain.

Like many Kiwis, he’s been following the Rugby World Cup and finds inspiration from champion players like Rieko Ioane and Beauden Barrett. And as he continues to improve, he’s got his eyes fixed on his goals.

For Zephaniah, it isn’t neccessarily about what he says, but more so what he does. He does his talking on the sporting stage, and as the accolades and celebrations come he says his mindset going into a race is to “just beat my times for sprints.” Always making sure to just have fun. It’s simple but sweet and a reflection of who he is, and his direct and determined attitude.

Shontelle Matano