The Taranaki forward, who studied at Massey in Palmerston North and worked in event management before taking a Rugby Development Officer role for the provincial union was happy playing club rugby and contributing to the Taranaki NPC team.
“I love playing rugby, but I’d left the idea of professional footy behind me. I was stoked to be involved with the Bulls last year but then it was pretty surprising getting the call up,” said Featherstone.
Stand out performances at the Ignite7 tournament at the end of 2020 and involvement with Taranaki XVs and sevens caught the attention of Clark Laidlaw and the All Blacks Sevens.
Featherstone was offered a professional contract and has relocated from New Plymouth to Mt Maunganui to train with the All Blacks Sevens full time.
Born and raised in Wellington, Rhodes (named after South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes), played rugby throughout his youth and ventured north for study at Massey University.
Rugby was full time for Featherstone last year, working as a Rugby Development Officer for Inglewood, he also was part of the championship-winning Taranaki NPC team.
“It was an awesome environment. Going 10 from 10 and taking the silverware home was amazing to be a part of, I learnt so much in that team.”
Moving to Mt Maunganui, Featherstone said there is plenty more to learn.
“I’m not half into anything, if I am playing, I’m all in. I want to grow and develop my game and then have whatever impact I can to the success of this team."
Laidlaw certainly sees bit potential in Featherstone.
“Rhodes is maybe little bit light for the XVs game, but he’s got genuine speed for a forward, he’s athletic and hard working. We see him becoming a genuine sevens specialist.”
Featherstone had his first run with the All Blacks Sevens over the weekend at the Bula Fiji Sevens in Wellington, scoring three tries.