Spotlight on Nayland’s Three Barbarians


I thought that I would pop down and watch a bit of rugby on Saturday 29 July at Waimea College, knowing I would bump into three ex-Stoke Nayland U15 players, Ajay Holdaway (capped), Sebastian Tuilagi and Olly Robertson, who happened to be playing rugby for the Waimea Combined 1st XV Barbarians with a must-win Semi Final versus Christ College 2nd XV.

Well, a good game of rugby was exactly what I got. A successful first-half after a fired-up and great start, saw the Barbarians go to the break with a half time score of 24 – 5 over their opposition. The first try happened minutes into the game after Holdaway assisted in the try by drawing and passing and giving Matt Miles an open try line. Three more tries were to come in that half, but only one penalty in the second half. Although Christs did succeed a try, strong defense by the Barbarians saw them take the win and progress on.  

I asked the boys how their season was, and really wanted to get some good advice for up-and-coming future Barbarians from Nayland. This is what they had to say:

Why did you take up the opportunity to play for the Barbarians?

Ajay: “I wanted to play a tougher, stronger form of rugby, more even-playing games”.

Sebastian: “I didn’t want to play rugby this year but then things just happened”.

Olly: “My cousin played for the team and so I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and also play a higher level of rugby”.

What has been your highlight of the season?

Ajay: “Travelling away to Christchurch with the team has been so much fun”. (They laugh and recount a few stories).

Sebastian: “Although I had a slow start to the season, because I was out after playing a pre-season game, and back at school colliding with a student in my PE lessons, and then being out with an injury for seven weeks… It is the environment and the people that you meet now and will meet later on. It’s the higher level of rugby and having a laugh”.

Olly: “Going on trips down South with the team and being with the team is fun”.

What advice would you give an up-and-coming rugby player keen to join the Barbarians?

Ajay: “The opportunity is there, build the future you want”.

Sebastian: “To go somewhere you have never been, you have to do something you have never done”.

Olly: “Go for it, give it your best, you never know what can happen”.

The boys earned a win over St Bede’s 2nd XV in Christchurch over the weekend to take the plate. 

By Jolene Cotton