The 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between New Zealand and Canada in Otia, Japan on Wednesday 2nd October 2019 saw a player from each side with strong RSD connections face each other. Peter Nelson was playing at outhalf for Canada and Angus Ta’avao was playing at prop for New Zealand. Peter attended RSD from 2004-2011 and was the 1st XV Captain in the 2010-2011 season. Angus toured the UK with Dilworth School, Auckland in 2007 when they played RSD and was then a Dilworth Tutor at RSD in 2008 as part of the student exchange programme with the Dilworth School.
Peter toured New Zealand with the RSD 1st XV during the summer of 2008, just months after finishing his Medallion season. When reflecting on this tour he said “Having been lucky enough to tour many countries with Ulster and Irish sides I still regard my school tours as some of the best times I have had in rugby. It is not often you get the opportunity to visit Australia and New Zealand with your best friends and get to play the sport you love.”. Peter played for Ireland Schools in the 2009-2011 seasons and on leaving school he joined Ulster Rugby. On Boxing Day 2011 Peter was awarded his first Senior Ulster Cap against Leinster at the RDS in the Pro 12. Whilst at Ulster Rugby he also played for the Ireland U20 side and played in every Ireland match at the 2012 Junior Rugby World Cup in South Africa. He also played for the Emerging Ireland at the 2015 Tbilisi Cup. Peter has always been supportive of RSD Rugby and helped coach the Medallion side during the 2016 – 2017 season. In June Peter was selected for the Canada squad, qualifying through his Vancouver born grandmother, and made his debut against the USA Eagles.
A few years ago when Angus was reflecting on his time at RSD he said “During my year as a tutor at RSD I had the great privilege on many occasions of “running out” for the local Dungannon Rugby Club. With U20 rugby on a Wednesday and seniors on a Saturday, it was the first time I had played two games of rugby in a week, something I really enjoyed. Playing prop on the Wednesday and dabbling at number 8 on the Saturday was definitely a first and a lot of fun. To be part of such a great club surrounded by great people was definitely one of the highlights of my tutor year.”
On return to New Zealand after his year at RSD, Angus was selected for the New Zealand U20 side for the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina, where he captained the side in their first match. He also played in the 2011 championship which took place in Italy. He made his Auckland debut in the same year playing in the New Zealand Provincial (ITM) competition. He became a member of the Blues wider training group in 2011 making his Super Rugby Competition debut on Friday March 2, 2012 against The Chiefs at the age of 22. He has since played for various teams in both New Zealand and Australia but is currently playing his club rugby with the Chiefs who are based in Hamilton, New Zealand.
It was great to see the two players had the opportunity to meet up after the World Cup match and share some memories in the true spirit of rugby. Please see https://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby/news/article.cfm?c_id=80&objectid=12273931
Dr Burnett said “Everyone at RSD is absolutely delighted to see both Peter and Angus playing at elite level in their sport and taking part in a global tournament. It has been great to see their development over recent years and I’m pleased that they had the opportunity to catch up after the match.”