Friday, April 13, 2012

PNG lad in NZ 7s team

George in the Tawa RFC Colours

GEORGE Tilsley has become the first Papua New Guinean to represent New Zealand in the national rugby sevens team.
George, 20, whose mum Helen Tilsley is from Okapa in the Eastern Highlands and dad Barry Tilsley from New Zealand had moved to Wellington in 2000.
Unfortunately for George, his dad Barry Tilsley who was instrumental in his son pursuing a rugby career, died in 2005.
While New Zealand was celebrating their big win at the International Rugby Board’s sanctioned sevens series in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, last year, little did Papua New Guineans know one of our very own had created history in that winning team.
He debuted against Australia then played in the final against South Africa.
“While on the bench I was nervous and also excited but sad that my dad was not there to see me play in front of 4000 spectators,” George told Post Courier.
After that match, coach Gordon Tietjens approached George and congratulated him for being the first Papua New Guinean to ever represent New Zealand.
It was a proud moment for George, who was still trying to grasp the fact that he had played an important role in that big win. George played in various high level of rugby while growing up from college First 15 to premier and regional grades for Wellington when he was spotted in November 2010 by the New Zealand national sevens coach Tietjen at a regional qualifying sevens tournament in Palmerston North.
George was then playing under the banner of Wellington and was accustomed to scoring tries that obviously grabbed the attention of one of the finest rugby sevens coach.
A customer services representative with Westpac Bank in Wellington, George is a utility back who can fit into the wing and fullback positions with ease.
Weighing 92kg on the scales and with a height of 1.92 metres makes him a perfect card for a national sevens player where his career began at the age of 18 representing Wellington Under 18 side and in that same year George was part of the New Zealand Legends sevens representative side to Sri Lanka for the Colombo International sevens tournament.
Already he has got offers from clubs overseas and within New Zealand but has not made up his mind yet.
This was the beginning of the George’s confidence in the sport.
“This was a proud moment for me to represent my other country and fulfilling my dad’s wish,” George told the Post-Courier in an email.
“By participating in this tournament it motivated me to train harder and get to my next goal which was to represent the actual New Zealand sevens team.”
George has been a regular sevens player in the Wellington side from 2010 to 2012
But it took a dying dad’s wish for his son to wear the famous black New Zealand jersey motivated this young Papua New Guinean to aim high and earn the right to one day realise that exact yearning one day.
And it took six years for George, a Papua New Guinean by blood, now a New Zealand citizen to make it happen breaking into the New Zealand sevens team, debuting against Australia during the IRB Sevens series in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and went on to be part of the winning team beating home team in the finals.
George attributes his achievements to coach Mathew Webster from Tawa Rugby Club who would always ask the lad to score and he would deliver with scoring long range tries and making breaks to set up tries.
George was born at Mendi Hospital on February 27, 1992 but grew up roaming the streets of Kainantu.
George and partner Alana Kathleen Robinson are expecting their first child.


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