MANAAKI Selby-Rickit says he is eating like a savage at the moment as the Highlanders management attempt to add some bulk to the promising lock.
Selby-Rickit was one of the Southland Stags’ best during the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup and as a result he has been signed by the Highlanders Super Rugby team on a development contract.
The Highlanders have seen potential in the skilful second-rower, but the first task is to add some bulk before they throw him into the Super Rugby mix.
Selby-Rickit has had little time off following a Mitre 10 Cup season in which he carried a big workload for Southland.
The Highlanders summoned him to Dunedin last week when the goal of adding weight to his 2m frame started.
There is a lot of lifting weights and protein shakes in Selby-Rickit’s life at the moment.
“I’ve been eating like a savage. I’ve been eating six times a day, which has been quite hard for me. I’m also in the gym two times a day,” he said.
Selby-Rickit tips the scales at 112kg and the plan is to add 5kg of muscle over the next six months.
He is living with his netball-playing sister Te Paea Selby-Rickit, who has a house in Dunedin.
He will remain part of the Highlanders’ set-up in Dunedin through to March, with hope it might become an extended stint with the Highlanders next year.
“I’m hoping I might get some game-time through the preseason and there also might be some opportunities come up through the [Super Rugby] season as well.”
Selby-Rickit acknowledged this period in his career provided a massive opportunity for him to make his mark as the Highlanders coaches and strength and conditioning coaches provide him with some guidance.
The 21-year-old was previously part of the Manawatu Rugby Union academy but shifted to Southland last year after he struggled for opportunities in Manawatu.
He quickly developed into a key asset for the Stags at Mitre 10 Cup level, which was acknowledged when he claimed a host of awards at Rugby Southland’s end-of-season prizegiving.
They included the Stags players’ player honour, most improved forward, and the Supporters Club’s most promising player.
It is understood Selby-Rickit’s emergence prompted interest from other unions, including his former province Manawatu.
However, Selby-Rickit has opted to sign with Rugby Southland for a further two years.