Old Collegian Reaping the Rewards

Old Collegian Mitchell Karpik is reaping the rewards for his hard work and dedication to rugby.

The New Zealand Under-20s squad member flies to Australia on Tuesday, 28 April with the team for the Oceania Junior Championship.

"I'm really fortunate to have this opportunity, so hopefully I can put my best foot forward," said Mitchell, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on 2 June when New Zealand open their JWC campaign against Scotland.

Mitchell has played for New Zealand Barbarians Schools (2012) and New Zealand Schools (2013) out of King's College, where he captained the First XV in his final year (2013).

In 2014, as the John Drake Memorial Scholar to the Auckland University Club, Mitchell was involved in a mix of Under-21 action - and won the championship - and premier play.

Keeping busy with studying commerce and training, Mitchell was picked up by the Auckland 7s and Under-19s and made such an impression in the National tournament that he claimed the Sir DJ Graham award for the best on show.

There are several familiar faces in th Under-20s squad, with no less than 10 others having played with him in the 2013 New Zealand Schools, including Old Collegian and Wellington No 8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas.

"He's worked extremely hard physically to prepare himself and he's tough. He's played 7s, got great anticipation for the game, and he's brutal at the breakdown, so he's going to be critical for us," said New Zealand coach Scott Robertson.

We're proud of you Mitchell, and wish you well in all your future rugby endeavours.