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Respect a theme for YMP

RUGBY

He’s been flanked by giants before.

And Brian Leach — the newly appointed head coach of East Coast Farm Vets YMP — appreciates the club’s 110-year history and that YMP stand for more than just rugby to generations of supporters.

“This year we’re about self-respect, respecting teammates, respecting all of the people in and around rugby,” Leach said.

“At our best, YMP stand for family and role models — being good citizens.”

Leach, 55, is of Ngati Kanohi descent and is a self-employed father of five. He was a midfield back for the Gisborne Boys’ High School second 15 and played on the left wing for YMP at under-21 and premier level, before switching codes to rugby league — with the Paikea Whalers — in the mid-1980s.

“Colin Skudder, who’s taking our forwards this season, got hold of me just before Christmas to see if I was interested in coaching the prems, and it went from there,” Leach said.

“YMP had a good team last year, made the grand final, and now I’ll give these talented young players my support.

“Alan Hogarth is our trainer, Remus and Claudia Maaka are our managers, and Justine Skudder is our statistician. All are huge assets.

“Hogie’s got high standards and we had 30-plus humming along from January 7 to March 25. I’m looking forward to putting them through their paces at training.”

YMP await the outcome of an alert-level announcement on Monday, with a view to training twice a week.

Niko Lauiti played second five-eighth for the Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 last year and deputised as their captain as required. He he and another former Boys’ High player — skilful first-five Austin Brown — feature in a promising intake.

Brown’s experience with 2019 Taranaki premier grade champions Spotswood United will stand him in good stead. He can also kick goals.

Fullback Andrew Tauatevalu, a High School Old Boys man last year and a lethal long-range threat given space, will play for YMP this season.

In terms of playing style, YMP want to field a mobile forward pack with the ability to be physical, while playing a quick, positive brand of rugby.

Hooker Shayde Skudder will again captain YMP and is greatly respected by the incoming head coach.

“Shayde’s a real leader; he fronts up,” Leach said.

“He’s proud to play for YMP — a club man through and through — he’s been training hard, and he’s made sacrifices.”

CONTACT: YMP loose forward Jesse Kapene takes on the Waikohu defence in the premier club rugby semifinal last year.Picture by Paul Rickard
GIANTS LIVE HERE: Here is the proof that Brian Leach has been flanked by giants before . . . in this 1990 Gisborne Herald basketball photograph, Rising Suns guard Leach looks up at teammates Doug DeVore (6ft 8in) and Robson Tavita (6ft 7in). Leach takes the rugby coaching reins of YMP this year, keen to build on the club’s 110-year history. Gisborne Herald file picture