Old school ties prove their worth for Booth

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Getting onto the field with 13 minutes to play after TJ Perenara had done some powerful lead-up work ahead of prop Alex Fidow's try that got them back in touch, Booth (pictured) called on his time spent in the Palmerston North Boys' High 1st XV with second five-eighths and All Black Ngani Laumape.

 

It was Laumape who provided thrust when passing to, then looping around, replacement flanker Vaea Fifita, to take his pass before cutting back on an angle to open the defence and give the ball to his old schoolmate to race the final 15m for the try.

 

"That's all I did [at school], just run off his shoulder. He does all the hard work and gives me the easy things," he said.

 

"It was good to finally get over the line and get our first win for the season."

 

The try was some reward for a career that has had its ups and downs since he first appeared for Manawatu in 2014. He had a stint with Newcastle in England for a season before being called up as an injury replacement for the Blues in Super Rugby, without getting to play. He was signed by the Highlanders in 2016, making one appearance.

 

Thirteen games followed for the Hurricanes in 2018 but then he spent 2019 with the Sunwolves before returning to Wellington for this season.

 

When he took the field in the latter stages of Sunday's game he said the players were excited as they had put themselves in a position where they had an opportunity.

 

"We kept cool heads and kept to what we talked about. The boys are stoked," he said.

 

"The thing that we took out of that game was that we really let ourselves down and so this week, looking forward, it was all on us to do the little things right, to do everything we could and not focus too much on the opposition," he said.

 

"At halftime we felt we were there or thereabouts but we weren't doing those little things every time and that was our focus going into the second half."

 

Booth said the satisfying thing was getting their first win behind them because it would have been hard flying home having lost two games on the tour.

 

"To get that monkey off our back and get that first win and now it's all about recovery and rebuilding and being fresh for this game against the Sharks," he said.

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