IRANZ graduate Eli Katoa signs with the Warriors

Less than two years after attending the IRANZ Advanced Course, Eli Katoa impressed in his debut for the U20 Warriors. He’s achieved his aim of gaining a professional contract and is a player to watch for the future.

IRANZ caught up with him recently and Eli shared his memories of his IRANZ experience and he told us about the hard work he’s been putting in since.

Elis says “IRANZ helped me to become a better player. I learnt resilience and the importance of trusting your team, and most importantly the course trained me physically and mentally. Although I already had a strong vision for my future in rugby, I was taught that making my goals a lifestyle would help me to go further. I walked into the course with excitement at 125kg and I personally didn’t see my weight as a barrier to succeeding in rugby. But coach Filo Tiatia approached me and said if I wanted to be serious about rugby I needed to lose some weight. He told me if I wanted to be serious about rugby I needed to be more consistent in my trainings, commit and dedicate myself to a lifestyle that was a reflection of where I was aiming to be. Today I am 108kg and it was the IRANZ course that shaped me to persevere through my grind and hold my vision of becoming a better player!”

Eli was coached by Filo Tiatia at IRANZ, who said “It was really pleasing to see the progress Eli made in the short time he was with us. He is a determined, diligent, hardworking and motivated young man.”

Eli says “I was so privileged to be guided by passionate and experienced coaches who motivated me and taught me valuable skills on the field.”

” I still carry the values and advice I was taught at IRANZ and now I am playing with some great and talented players I have continued to set goals for myself and challenge my ability to be the most valuable player for my team mates.”

“The individual one-on-ones with the coaches were so meaningful and helpful. They gave me advice and direction on the areas I needed to improve and where I needed support. They also continually encouraged us and kept us motivated. It was definitely challenging – but also fun!”