Executives from Unidare RFC joined with the New Zealand Ireland Association this week to officially announce the candidate chosen to join an innovative rugby exchange initiative…

Ballymun native, Dean King, was selected for the programme, which will see him travel from North Dublin to New Zealand to further develop his rugby skills.

Over 20 players were evaluated on strict criteria including: current level of participation, playing ability and likelihood of maximising the experience on both a personal and sporting level. Dean, who has only been playing rugby for 18 months as part of the Unidare RFC Dublin 11 Project, impressed the New Zealand coaches with his extraordinary skills and raw talent.

As a result of his selection, he will spend six months living, working and playing rugby with Matamata United Sports in New Zealand.

The rugby exchange project seeks to promote the game in areas of Dublin City where it does not typically have a strong following, in addition to strengthening the sporting links between the two countries and has kindly been supported by the New Zealand Ireland Association, ALLTRANS Transport and DCU Sports.

Commenting on the announcement, Joe Harton, President of Unidare RFC said: “We are delighted to afford this opportunity to Dean and we feel that from a playing and life experience viewpoint this trip will be of great benefit both to Dean and the whole Unidare community.”

The programme was launched in November 2008 by His Excellency the Ambassador for New Zealand, Derek Leask.