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Former Taieri Eels rugby player Josh Larsen is looking forward to pulling on the Cambridge blue jersey of Northland after being selected in its national provincial championship Mitre 10 Cup squad for 2016.
The 22-year-old, who plays lock, played three years for the Eels while studying at the University of Otago from 2012 to 2015. He has since graduated and moved back to his hometown, Paihia.
"I'm very honoured to be picked for Northland,'' Larsen said.
"I grew up here in the province and still remember going to Okara Park as a youngster watching the Cambridge blue. So to be in the squad now is very special.''
Making the squad had taught him that hard work paid off.
"Northland being such a large region, and with my home in Paihia being roughly an hour out of the main area of Whangarei, it has been a lot of work and effort and driving to and from training.
"I was fortunate enough at the start of the year to be involved in the academy up here and then from there really worked on my strength and conditioning as well as my form in club rugby.
"It was all done with huge support from my father, Andy.''
While he hoped to take the field for Northland, he was focused on improving himself and learning from the rest of the squad.
"If I got a game against Otago down south it would be a dream, as I am still very close to the deep South and have some really close friends there.
"But I am just taking it day by day for now.''
His highlights while playing for the Eels were making his premier debut against the Kaikorai Rugby Football Club and being a part of the side's run to the final last year.
The highlights of his rugby career so far were making the Canada Under-20 team - he was born in Canada - and making the Otago B squad last year.
"The main highlight now would be this year with the Northland Mitre 10 Cup squad.''