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Levi in harmony playing for Poneke

Swindale Shield | 18 April 2017 | Adam Julian

Levi in harmony playing for Poneke

The weekend Levi Harmon was named in the Hurricanes Under-18 training camp proved to be bitter-sweet for the midfielder.

It was 2015 and Wairarapa College was tussling with Scots College.

"I ran at Lotonuu Haueia (now a Poneke teammate) who attempted to tackle me. Bruce Kauika-Petersen (Petone) went to clean him out and his head collided into my shoulder and body. Bruce has a big head and he broke my collarbone." Harmon rues.

Harmon played just one more match that season, but the humble and softly spoken 20-year old stuck up a crucial friendship while at camp.

"I meet Joey Fiu and Tane Tu'ipulotu and they persuaded me to come to Poneke. Tane was coaching the backs and Joey came to visit me afterwards and quickly built trust. I played a sevens tournament alongside the likes of Greg Foe and that made it an easy decision to come to Poneke." Harmon reflects.

Harmon has made a big impression in Red and Black. He played 17 matches in his maiden season and earned selection for the Wellington Under-19's.

"It really sucked to miss the Jubilee Cup semi-finals by one point, but it was great learning experience last year. My favourite games were my debut when Greg Mullany kicked a last-minute drop goal to win the Hakaraia Trophy against Wainui and when we beat OBU to stop their winning run of 19 games. I didn't actually play in the OBU game, but that was a great day for the team." Harmon recalls.

RLM

Harmon earned selection for the Wellington Under-19's for the National tournament in Taupo, but an ankle injury and a semi-final defeat to Auckland was a setback.

"It was great to play with so many top level players, but I struggled with injuries which was disappointing because I couldn't make a big push for New Zealand 20's. We thought we had the team to win the tournament, but we slipped." Harmon says.

Despite four defeats in 2017, Harmon generally believes Poneke are on an upward ascent.

"The losses we have had haven't been by big scores. In fact we led the Norths and Wainuiomata games, and started well against HOBM but struggled to apply the pressure for 80 and close them out."

Isaiah Walker-Leawere scored two tries in the Upper Hutt game. The return of a powerful ball carrier in the forwards has been beneficial.

"We lack a bit of size in the forwards, but with Izzy there we have someone who can go forward often." Harmon believes.

Harmon grew up in Masterton, but it was in Palmerston North where he made his first real headway in the game.

Harmon successfully auditioned for a place at Tu Toa College in Palmerston North. A unique, but short-lived rugby culture was established.

"It was a blessing to be there. You had to trial to get in. There were all these fitness tests I had to pass. We had a real good Under-15's side that won the Hurricanes tournament three years in a row." Harmon acclaims.

Sione Asi, Ciarahn Matoe, Paripari Parkinson, Ereatara Enari, Sean Paranihi and Otere Black were all members of one of those three teams. Each has made the New Zealand Schools or progressed even further. Additionally Piki Rogers plays for the Roosters in the NRL.

"It was a real family at Tu Toa and the boys who went there are still very tight. Unfortunately the Durie brothers who owned the school fell out and things fell apart." Harmon laments.
Harmon switched to Wairarapa College and was surprised by the high standard of rugby.

"In my first game we beat Bishop Viard College and the boys were pumped. They were saying we were only two wins away from Premier One. I didn't even know that." Harmon laughs.

In Premier One in 2015, Wairarapa College upset Wellington College, but Harmon's injured ankle prevented him for taking part.

"It was awesome to beat Wellington College. We were stoked. Wairarapa is only a small school, but I am proud of what we have achieved. We have made a bit of a name for ourselves recently." Harmon enthuses.

Harmon is aligned with the Red Star club in Masterton. His younger brother Zinny (named after the famous All Black Zinzan Brooke) is a second-five at intermediate level. Harmon ranks Marist St Pat's Ryan Setefano as the hardest midfield back he has marked. After a year of employment in construction he is studying Health and Exercise Science at the New Zealand Institute of Sport. In his spare time he enjoys going to the beach and riding dirt bikes.

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