Hard work key to success: Samuels

Southern shearer Leon Samuels collects the trophy after winning the Golden Shears open final in...
Southern shearer Leon Samuels collects the trophy after winning the Golden Shears open final in Masterton. PHOTO: PETE NIKOLAISON
Southern shearer Leon Samuels is the first South Islander to take home the Golden Shears open title in 35 years.

At the same event, Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, won a third National Shearing Circuit final, beating Samuels by a 0.355 point margin.

Also at the same event, Samuels, Stratford and Marlborough shearer Angus Moore won the transtasman test, beating Australians Daniel McIntyre, Nathan Meaney and Josh Bone.

A few days after the Golden Shears, Shawn McAvinue talked to Leon Samuels on his smoko break from shearing lambs on a farm near Lake Mahinerangi in Otago.

Q. Congratulations on winning the Golden Shears open title. How did that feel?

It was an unreal feeling.

Q. I heard a crowd of about 1000 people were watching the final?

There was quite a few — it was noisy.

Q. How many Golden Shears events have you competed in?

Six, maybe seven. It was the second time I’ve been in the final and the first time I’ve won.

Q. What is your secret to success?

There’s no secret. You’ve got to work hard for it.

Q. I hear you’re one of the few people who have won the New Zealand Shears, Golden Shears and Merino Shears?

I think there is only one other person and that’s Snow Quinn.

Q. Do you prefer shearing strong wool or fine wool?

I’m a strong-wool shearer but I’m taking quite a liking to the finer wool.

Q. In the open final at the Golden Shears, Wairarapa shearer David Buick finished shearing first but you won on the competition on points. After you shore your final sheep did you feel you were in with a chance of a win?

It is hard to know when you are on the board because you don’t know what your mates are up to — I didn’t know. I thought Dave Buick had that one.

Q. How long did it take before it was announced you had won?

Nearly an hour.

Q. You live in Roxburgh but all media reports have been calling you a Southlander. What gives?

I lived in Invercargill for 20-odd years, well over half of my life, and I’ve been in Roxburgh for three.

Q. I understand Nathan Stratford is a mentor of yours?

And a good mate. More of a good mate than a mentor.

Q. I hear Nathan once qualified for the world champs shearing in the South of France but couldn’t make it so you replaced him last minute, travelling across the world, and made it just in time to compete.

Yeah, pretty much. I got stuck on a train for two and a-half hours.

Q. I hear after competing in 18 transtasman tests, Nathan has signalled he won’t compete in any more?

He told me — whether I believe him or not — that was his last transtasman test, so to go out on a win with him was pretty special.

Q. How many time have you been part of the transtasman team?

That was my fourth transtasman test.

Q. What was the result for those four tests?

Two wins and two losses.

Q. Do you enjoy beating the Aussies?

You have to. One of my good mates, Nathan Meaney, is in the Australian team.

Q. Did you give him a gentle ribbing?

There’s a bit of banter that goes around.

Q. How many National Shearing Circuits have you competed in and how many have you won?

Five and I won in 2020.

Q. The winner of the circuit final was decided in Masterton and you came second to Nathan by less than half a point. How does it feel to come that close to winning?

I’ve been that close a few times. To come second to Nathan, it couldn’t have gone to a better man.

Q. What is on your bucket list for the sport?

I don’t know. I’ll just take it as it comes. I’m away to the New Zealand Shearing Championships in Te Kuiti next month so we’ll see how we go.

Q. Are you still keen for more?

Bloody oath I’m keen for more.


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