Nelson Bay powerhouse rugby forward Isaac Laracy bound for Ireland

Outstanding Kiwi number eight Isaac Laracy in action for the Nelson Bay Gropers.

AFTER a productive eighteen month rugby stint in Port Stephens it is bon voyage for Nelson Bay Gropers iron man Isaac Laracy.

The fearless forward is bound for County Kerry in Ireland with partner Mia for a new life adventure and a fresh start with the Castleisland Rugby Club.

New Zealand-born Isaac departed for Europe earlier this week after chalking up twenty-one appearances and playing a key role in the Gropers’ undefeated 2023 Hunter Suburban Rugby championship-winning success.

“I have had a wonderful experience at Nelson Bay both on and off the rugby field,” an appreciative Laracy told News Of The Area.

“Since joining the club last season I’ve made lifelong friends and have broadened my rugby experience with so many memorable moments,” he reflected.

“I’m sad to be leaving but look forward to travelling with Mia back to her home roots in County Kerry and embracing the Irish lifestyle,” Isaac added.

The strong running number eight and demon defender proved an instant hit with the Gropers after venturing across the Tasman along with cousin and boom five eighth Illisoni Vonomatairu.

Both hailed from the Shannon Community Rugby Club near Palmerston North and capped impressive debut seasons by helping Nelson Bay lift the Presidents Cup premiership trophy.

Laracy was rewarded for his powerhouse efforts by collecting the Players’ Player of the Year and Best Forward awards.

It was in Nelson Bay that Isaac met girlfriend Mia – a County Kerry native – who has had a great influence on his rugby career.

Veteran Gropers prop Zion Takarua – a close cousin of Isaac and Illisoni – helped entice the pair from New Zealand’s North Island to Port Stephens in a move that has proved fruitful indeed.

Shannon is a small sheep and dairy farming town of 1610 people in the Honowhenua district and the Community Rugby Club was formed in 1899 – as part of the Horowhenua Kapati Rugby Provence.

As a mark of respect the Nelson Bay Rugby squad turned up to the Groperdome Clubhouse at Bill Strong Oval to farewell Mia and Isaac after the recent clash with Singleton Red Bulls was postponed due to heavy rain.

An east coast low unfortunately hit the region as Isaac was due to lead the Gropers out as captain in his final game for the club before embarking for Ireland.

The loss of Laracy is a huge blow for the Gropers who remain a force to be reckoned with in the Hunter Suburban competition through their tremendous depth of talent.

Following a competition bye over the long weekend, Nelson Bay lock horns with Newcastle Griffins this Saturday at Dangar Park Mayfield.

In the women’s division the Gropers lineup against Newcastle University at Bernie Curren Oval.

By Chris KARAS

Departing Nelson Bay lock Isaac Laracy (left) celebrates the Gropers’ undefeated Presidents Cup premiership triumph in Hunter Suburban Rugby with team mates and cousins Illisoni Vonomatairu and Zion Takarua.

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