Among the thousands of intermediate-aged athletes attending this week’s AIMS Games in Tauranga are a host of sons and daughters of stars who represented New Zealand on the biggest stages in sport.
None of those have greater sporting genes than aspiring netballer Jaya Stanley from the Baradene College of the Sacred Heart team from Remuera, Auckland. Her parents are former All Black Jeremy Stanley and ex-Silver Fern Anna Stanley (née Rowberry), her coach at the 16th AIMS Games.
Jeremy’s father is 27-test All Black Joe Stanley, a Rugby World Cup winner in 1987. Anna’s mother is former Silver Fern Brenda Rowberry, so Jaya’s grandparents have an illustrious sporting background, too.
Among the rest with excellent sporting pedigree are the descendants of a variety of All Blacks (rugby), Silver Ferns (netball) or Kiwis (league), playing a mix of netball, water polo, basketball, sevens and tennis.
Crusaders coach and former All Black Scott Robertson’s son Macklan is representing Christchurch’s St Andrew’s College in tennis.
“He tends not to listen to dad too much, especially in tennis,” Robertson said.
“My skill is teaching people how to tackle and you don’t need that too much in tennis.”
Another former All Black, Kevin Schuler, has swapped coaching rugby with water polo for his son Isaac’s team from Aquinas College for the second year in a row.
Among today’s professional athletes who competed at previous AIMS Games are All Black Nathan Harris (football for Te Puke Intermediate), Black Cap Adam Milne (football for Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School), Black Ferns sevens star Tyla Nathan-Wong (football for Blockhouse Bay), and triathlete Tayler Reid (multisport for Gisborne Intermediate) who won bronze at last year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
This year, netball is where most of the super sporting genes are at the week-long event featuring more than 11,500 intermediate-aged athletes from New Zealand and the Pacific.
Of the 10 sets of twins on the netball courts are Auckland assistant coach and ex-All Black Filo Tiatia’s twin daughters Emina and Gianna from South Wellington Intermediate. As well as Jaya Stanley, they are among the five daughters of former All Blacks playing netball this week in Tauranga.
The other two are Adrian Cashmore’s daughter Milla with Balmacewen Intermediate and ex-All Blacks captain Tana Umaga’s daughter Anise with Saint Kentigern College.
There are also league legends Manu Vatuvei and Ali Lauiti’iti’s daughters, Makayla and Ivana, with netball teams from Mission Heights Junior College and Holy Cross School Papatoetoe respectively. Vatuvei and Lauiti’iti both played for the Warriors and New Zealand, but also for Tonga and Samoa respectively.
Like Anna Stanley, former Silver Fern Courtney Tairi is coaching the Diocesan School for Girls team from Auckland.
Meanwhile, in the same basketball team alongside the Wyllie triplets from Rosmini College are Zion Vagana and Matt Dalton. Zion is the nephew of former New Zealand and Samoa league internationals Joe and Nigel Vagana, who also both played for the Warriors, while Matt is the son of the late Tania Dalton who was a Silver Fern from 1996-2007.
In the rugby sevens, ex-New Zealand international Grant McQuoid is coaching his son Jay’s Otumoetai Intermediate team.
Brett Sinkinson, who played 20 tests for Wales from 1999-2002, is coaching a Papamoa College team with Rhydian Spice, whose father Jason was called into the All Blacks for a test against Argentina in 2001 but he didn’t come off the bench. The ex-Blues and Hurricanes halfback left New Zealand in 2004 to see out his career in Wales.
Former New Zealand sevens international Sherwin Stowers, a gold and silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014 respectively, is coaching Holy Cross School Papatoetoe’s girls team.
The AIMS Games kicked off with cross country on Sunday and there were two former national sprint champions, James Mortimer and Mariah Ririnui, coaching Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls and Mount Maunganui Intermediate respectively.