Morrison helps Guam to two wins

Otago University student and Guam international Cory Morrison. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Otago University student and Guam international Cory Morrison. Photo: Gregor Richardson
The University of Otago has produced more than 40 All Blacks — now it has rolled out an international for Guam.

It may not be like wearing the silver fern but University premier flanker Cory Morrison has just come back from representing Guam at the Asia championship division three east tournament in Brunei.

Morrison helped Guam  beat Brunei and China at the tournament.

The 21-year-old was born and raised in Guam after his parents moved there to set up a machinery hire business more than 25 years ago.

When he was 13, he was sent back to New Zealand, the home of  parents Ross and Sarah, to board at St Peter’s School in Cambridge in Waikato and that was where he was introduced to rugby.

He played the game, enjoyed it and, when he finished high school, he came south to study for a law and commerce degree at the University of Otago in 2015.

He still goes back to Guam every six months to a year and enjoys the island, which is in  Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean.

Last year, a New Zealand friend of his became involved in rugby on the island and asked if he would play for Guam if he was available.

He jumped at the chance and, along with older brother Josh (23),  travelled to Guam and then on to Brunei to play at the championship last month.

The Guam team is known as the Flying Proas — a proa is a Micronesian sailboat.

Rugby is not huge in Guam although there are sevens and tens tournaments and it is growing.

The side started well against Brunei and it overcame the sweltering 32decC heat to win 66-12.

Morrison lost 4kg during the game in the heat and then had a day’s rest before having to face China in the next game.

Going on population, it was something of a mismatch — Guam is home to about 160,000 people while the population of China is 1.4 billion.

But the Guam side came out well and won the game 55-12 after leading 31-0 at halftime.

"Coming straight from New Zealand, just with the weather it was pretty tough. But we played pretty well and it was a lot of fun," he said.

"The Chinese side was huge but they were pretty robotic. They just did a lot of pods and it was all pretty slow. Not very expansive."

He said the standard was similar to the Dunedin premier two grade and the side had come together well.

It was a side of all sorts although he and his brother were the only players from New Zealand.

He hoped the victory would encourage other Guam natives living in New Zealand to go  and play for the team.

His cousin, Tom Morrison, who also comes from Guam and plays in the backs for the University premier team with Cory, was keen to take part this year but pulled his hamstring just before departure so could not play.

Now Cory is back in Dunedin a long way from the hot weather and international games.

Exams are looming and study is to be done. As is winning a club title with University.

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