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Front-rowers Mahonri Auva’a and Steve Salelea have a pre-season rugby training story none of their mates back in Auckland can tell — the day they tried to catch an oversized sheep.
The year 13 pupils at King’s High School, in Dunedin, live at a homestay on Scroggs Hill, and for some time had been watching a rogue ewe which had gone bush behind their host’s property.
This week they resolved to catch the shaggy stop-out and a more slender sheep which had been keeping it company.
After several hours’ toil, they managed to corral the animals.
Capturing the Shrek the sheep lookalike was relatively easy, the pair said. With its enormous fleece, it was barely able to run away.
Getting it back up a steep, scrub-covered valley on the other hand, was far from simple.
"We’ve seen it around here for a while and at the end of last year we had a crack at it but it was too hard and there was too much gorse," Mahonri said.
"I got the big one in, like, 20 minutes, but the small one gave us the runaround," Steve said.
"We had to drag the big one by each leg because it was too heavy to carry, especially up the incline. That took a couple of hours."
Homestay parent Tracey Mitchell said she did not know who the super-woolly rogue belonged to, but it had been living wild in the bush adjacent to her property ever since they moved in.
"It just appeared and then would disappear. It could have come from literally anywhere," she said.
"We’ve tried to catch it a couple of times, but then they cleared the gorse in the gully and so it was easier to find him."
A neighbour had agreed to tackle the tricky job of shearing the shaggy behemoth, so it should be known soon how close the weight of wool being carried by the Shrek of Scroggs Hill comes to the record 27kg of wool its Tarras namesake was relieved of when finally shorn in 2004.