“IT IS ALWAYS AN HONOUR TO REPRESENT YOUR COUNTRY; I EXPECT A FAST OPEN GAME”
Next Saturday there will be some great polo action in New Zealand, at the Kihikihi Polo Club, with the International Polo Day, which main attractive will be the international Test-Match between New Zealand and Argentina, a 6-chukker game. One of the players of the locals will be John Paul Clarkin, a well-known New Zealand player, who have played in all levels of polo in England. In conversation with Pololine, the experienced player stated:
“It is always an honour to represent your country and especially as there are so few opportunities to do so. And to play the highest level possible is also a challenge of mine. I last played for New Zealand this day last year against England which we narrowly won.”
On his experience facing Argentina: “I have played against 2 club Argentine teams that have played this day in New Zealand before. But this will be the first time to play against a nationally selected, which is an amazing achievement for New Zealand polo and the Kihikihi Polo Club to be able to host an event that can attract the best teams in the world.”
On the New Zealand polo season: “The season for us here in New Zealand starts in December and runs through to the end of March. But the bulk of the tougher tournaments are end of January and February including about 5 weeks of 18-goal polo which is our high goal level. After this week in Kihikihi, which includes the test-match, we have the NZ Open and also the National Tournament called the Savile Cup coming up shortly”.
On the polo situation in New Zealand: “I think in New Zealand we now have a number of very good polo fields in the north of the country, including Mystery Creek Polo Club field, which is owned by my cousin Simon Keyte, Nina and myself. These field have helped the quality of polo a lot and also we are very lucky to have an amazing pool of horses breed for racing that anyone can acquire and retrain to polo. Of which some have gone on to play very good polo all around the world including the Argentine Open which is an amazing achievement for a country of so few polo players”.
On his expectations on the match against Argentina: “I have no doubt that the young team that has come to represent Argentina will be a huge test and hopefully a great spectacle to play against. People all around the world love to watch the flare and natural ability that Argentine teams play and New Zealand is no exception. I expect a fast open game and a huge challenge for us. They are a young team but undoubtedly on the way up in the polo world”.
On the responsibility of being the highest rated player of his team: “The only responsibly I feel is to play as best I can and hopefully that will inspire others to improve and aim to the top and they can one day take over the reins”.
NEW ZEALAND: Kit Brooks 5, Craig Wilson 6, Tom Hunt 6, John Paul Clarkin 7. Total: 24. Reserve: Glenn Sherriff. Manager/coach: Simon Keyte.
ARGENTINA: Juan Martín Zubía 7, Santiago Loza 6, Genaro Ringa 6, Paco O’Dwyer 6. Total: 25. Coach/reserve: Diego Braun.
Venue: Kihikihi Polo Club.
Kick off time: 3pm.