It’s becoming a reality for part New Zealand Maori and Solomon Islands by blood 20-year-old Andrew Ruteru Hayward whose ambitions to become professional is in the making.
Young Andrew is currently on a 3 years rugby scholarship in Japan at the Ryutsu Keizai University and has a year and a half to complete study and play. The RKU Institute has been known for setting a benchmark where over a hundred scholars made it through to professional rugby playing at the Japan Rugby League One competition.
This was through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with the university initiative to assist developing countries.
“I want to play here in Japan. To turn professional that’s my goal because I want to support my family in New Zealand and the Solomon Islands,” Andrew said of his future plans.
“It’s been one of my desires always to represent the Solomon Islands in rugby and I hope they can take me on board.
Andrew has been eyed by a number of top Japanese rugby clubs, a choice he will decide after completing university.
“I just want to make the younger generation know that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can do or become great in whatever you do,” says Andrew.
With the likes of Andrew, it will get better exposure and the next generation can enjoy and pursue what rugby can bring.
He plays in the backline as an outside center.
Andrew was raised as a boy at White River.
His father is part Solomon Islands from Wagina and of New Zealand Maori heritage, while his mother is also from Wagina, a Solomon Islands – Gilbertese located in Choiseul Province.
A second-born child in the family, Andrew moved with his family to New Zealand in 2009 when he was 7 years old, and later became a permanent resident there before taking on a rugby career that eventually will land a history to become a first Solomon Islander turn professional in the gentlemen’s game.