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Highland Star Pati Garners USRFF Grant to Attend IRANZ Academy

Thursday Jul 23, 2009 in Grassroots Rugby High School

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San Diego, Calif. - Highland scrumhalf Randy "Don" Pati, who led his team to the USA Rugby's U19 championship title in May, is this year's recipient of the USRFF Development Grant.

Awarded annually to at least one up-and-coming player, the grant will allow Pati to take part in the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand's Advanced Player Course next month.

"Don was highly recommended by a number of coaches," said USRFF Executive Director Brian Vizard. "We feel confident that he will do himself, his team and his teammates proud and that he will continue in the same fashion as those players the Foundation has sent to New Zealand previously."

Highland coach Larry Gelwix has had a number of fine players suit up for him over the years and knows a special player when he sees one.

"Don Pati is a gamebreaker,” Gelwix said. “He reminds me of a young Byron Kelleher with a strong build, fast pace, and one of the strongest passes I have seen at any level. We moved our No. 10 out another five-plus meters at lineouts and scrums because Don could make the pass, which gave us a decided attacking advantage. His skills were highlighted this year at the USA Rugby national championship tournament where he took the ball from the back of our scrum and simply outran all the opposition backs for a 60-meter solo try. Don has a great future ahead of him in rugby and is a player that should be on the Eagles radar.”

Past recipients of the USRFF Development or High Performance Grants include US National Team players Kevin Swiryn, Shawn Pittman and Scott LaValla; 2009 US Collegiate All-American Cam Dolan; 2009 Collegiate All Stars Conrad Bontrager and Hamish Roberts; and Hanno Dirksen, who played for the US National Team last year and who is currently playing his rugby in the UK .

The USRFF thanked David and Eileen Hovey for making this year's Development Grant possible and former US Eagle Mike DeJong for providing the domestic travel.


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