Former France rugby hooker Dimitri Szarzewski's son 'safe in Rotorua' in lockdown – Stuff.co.nz


Dimitri Szarzewski, pictured training in New Plymouth before a 2013 test against the All Blacks, has sent his son to New Zealand on a rugby and study sabbatical.

Andy Jackson

Dimitri Szarzewski, pictured training in New Plymouth before a 2013 test against the All Blacks, has sent his son to New Zealand on a rugby and study sabbatical.

The teenage son of former French test hooker Dimitri Szarzewski opted to wait out the coronavirus lockdown in New Zealand rather than attempt to return home to France.

Hugo Szarzewski, 16, is on a seven-month study and cultural sabbatical at Rotorua Boy’s High School.

His father told France’s Midi Olympique newspaper that his son was safe and well.

“Given the situation in France, he is better there [in New Zealand],  Dimitrii Szarzewksi said.

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“We talked about it together on the phone. He preferred to stay because he feels good there. The boarding school remains open. There are ten of them staying there, especially foreign students.”

080613 Peter Meecham / Fairfax Media 
 French hooker Dimitri Szarzewski gets hit hard by All Black second five Ma'a Nonu during the All Blacks vs France first rugby test played at Eden Park in Auckland

Peter Meecham

080613 Peter Meecham / Fairfax Media
French hooker Dimitri Szarzewski gets hit hard by All Black second five Ma’a Nonu during the All Blacks vs France first rugby test played at Eden Park in Auckland

Dimitri, a former Racing 92 captain, accompanied Hugo, an inside back, to New Zealand in early April to help him settle into his new surroundings.

He said the family chose Rotorua Boy’s High School for various reasons. “First, because it is a real Māori land and for cultural discovery it seemed opportune. Then, because it is a country town, a spa town, far from city ​​life, which is a real change for Hugo who grew up in Paris.”

“At the school level, rugby is a subject in its own right, just like mathematics or geography, and Hugo “also chose a module on Māori culture.”

Every day, from 3pm, the French student was on the rugby field, working on skills or strength and conditioning.

Rotorua Boy’s High has a proud history of producing All Blacks, including Tom Donnelly and Liam Messam. 

Dylan Hartley and Teimana Harrison were spotted by the Northampton Saints playing at Rotorua BHS and later became England internationals. Hartley – recently retired through injury – won 96 caps and became England captain in 2016 under new coach Eddie Jones.

Rotorua Boy’s High is also the alma mater for current UFC world middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and PGA Tour golfer Danny Lee.

Aaron Smith pressures Dimitri Szarzewski in a 2013 test at Eden Park.

Jason Oxenham

Aaron Smith pressures Dimitri Szarzewski in a 2013 test at Eden Park.

This is Hugo Szarzewski’s second visit to New Zealand – he was here in 2011 while his dad played in the Rugby World Cup,.

His father is convinced his son will return home “richer” for his experience in Rotorua.

“If [in the future], he becomes a professional player, so much the better for him . But if it is not the case, it is an adventure which will have enabled him to grow, to take responsibility. “

 

Dimitri Szarzewski, 37, retired as a rugby professional in 2019.  The Narbonne born front rower began his career with Beziers in the south of France before signing for Stade Francais in 2005 and ending his career at rival Paris club Racing 92, where he played alongside All Blacks great Dan Carter.

Dimitri Szarzewski (L), Sebastien Chabal and Imanol Harinordoquy face the All Blacks haka before France's 2007 win in Cardiff.

Tom Hevezi

Dimitri Szarzewski (L), Sebastien Chabal and Imanol Harinordoquy face the All Blacks haka before France’s 2007 win in Cardiff.

Szarzewski made his French test debut in 2004 and retired from test duty after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

He earned 83 caps despite having to scrap for game time at hooker with two recent France captains, Raphael Ibanez and Guilhem Guirado, and also William Servat.

Szarzewski, often used as an impact player off the bench for France, played the All Blacks 11 times.

He was a substitute for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final loss to New Zealand at Eden Park after sharing in the 2007 Rugby World Cup quarterfinal upset of the All Blacks in Cardiff.

Szarzweski’s final test came off the bench against the All Blacks in the 62-13 defeat in Cardiff in the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.

 

 

 

 

 


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