Taine 3rd in Withy dynasty

Southland Boys’ captain Taine Withy at team training on field No1 at the school grounds yesterday...
Southland Boys’ captain Taine Withy at team training on field No1 at the school grounds yesterday. He is flanked by older brothers and former Southland Boys’ captains Aaron (left) and Sean in action for Southland Boys’ First XV. Photos: Nina Tapu/ODT files
What will Southland Boys’ do when they run out of Withys?

The First XV will have to look for a captain with a different surname for a start.

Taine Withy is the third and final brother from the Withy clan to captain Southland Boys’.

The 17-year-old is following in the muddy boots of older brothers Sean, 23, and Aaron, 20.

Sean, who is a loose forward for the Highlanders, captained the school team in 2017-18 before moving north to Dunedin in 2019 to attend university.

Aaron led Southland Boys’ in 2021 before also making the move north to Dunedin. He is captaining the University premier team this season.

They both played openside for their school, but Taine has really smashed the mould. He went rogue and joined the backs.

He is a hard-running second five but has not strayed far from the applecart, really. His high workrate, leadership and defensive accuracy must surely be inherited traits.

And he just might be the toughest of the Withys. His older brothers helped out in the hardening-up process.

"Yeah, there was a bit of that," Taine said.

"There was a bit of knee rugby when we were younger in the lounge or on the lawn.

"There was one time with Sean, when he first made the First XV, he got me and Aaron out on the lawn and he said he needed to make his ribs stronger. He lifted his arms and just got me and Aaron to smash into his ribs.

"But I’ve talked to my brothers and they’ve told me to enjoy it [the captaincy].

"It is a pretty cool honour, really. I don’t think it’s ever been done by three brothers, so it is pretty special."

Southland Boys’ had an epic campaign last season. They beat Otago Boys’ 22-10 in the regional final, edged Christchurch Boys 29-28 in the South Island final, and beat Westlake Boys’ 32-29 in the national final.

Taine missed last season due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. But he got to lead the side at the recent Sanix World Youth Invitational Rugby Tournament in Japan, where they finished fourth.

The team arrived back only on Sunday but will have to shake off any travel weariness because they play Otago Boys’ in their opening game of the Southern Schools Rugby Championship in Dunedin today.

"Winning last year has created some expectations and our goal is to make it back to the top four. But we’re a completely different team.

"We’ve had nine players return from last year so we try not to think about our success last year because we’re a new team and we’ve got to make our own way."