East Coast teens scouted for Japan

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Hicks Bay 16-year-old Liam Henderson has been offered a $400,000 rugby scholarship at Yamanashi Gakuin high school in Japan.

Liam’s mum Jade Henderson said Liam started playing ripper rugby at age 5, when she was questioned about his age.

“He was quite big for his age, so we had to show his birth certificate,” she said.

When Liam progressed to tackle rugby he had to play up two years because of his size.

Now aged 16 he stands six-foot-one, weighing 115kg, and often gets mistaken for a 20-year-old.

Liam is also skilled at Kyokushin, a Japanese form of martial arts.

It is similar to kickboxing without punches to the head.

He hopes to further develop his skills in Japan.

“Hopefully I get to spar a few people and practice Kyokushin over there, sparring is fun, it toughens you up,” Liam said.

“I’m nervous because I get homesick, but it’s good I get this opportunity.”

While some say people from small townships on the East Coast can have disadvantages, Liam proves with hard work, anything is possible.

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