A former schoolboy rugby star who represented New Zealand has been sentenced to eight months' home detention on drugs charges.
Six years ago New Plymouth Boys' High School 1st XV captain Zarhn Commerer, of Eltham, was chasing dreams of being an All Black.
But yesterday in the Hawera District Court the 23-year-old admitted two charges of cultivation and one of possession of cannabis for supply.
Now he will not be able to leave his mother's house for eight months.
Commerer was awarded the Bronze Boot trophy for being the most outstanding player in a New Zealand secondary school test match against Australia in 2005 and was touted as a future All Black.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Britton said that last October police had found sophisticated growing operations at the homes of Commerer and his father.
He said police discovered at the two addresses 12 potted cannabis plants worth between $36000 and $72,000, 17 potted cannabis "clones", 350 grams of dried cannabis and sizeable quantities of cash.
"The Crown believes the stockpile of cash was the proceeds of cannabis and dealing," Mr Britton said.
Defence lawyer Patrick Mooney said there was no dispute of the cold hard facts that there was cultivation at two addresses but there were mixed motives involved.
He described Commerer as a regular user of cannabis who had turned to the drug for pain relief after he had suffered a shoulder injury while playing rugby.
He said Commerer's father, who had pleaded guilty to consuming and allowing the cannabis to be grown at his property, also used the drug as a form of pain relief.
The $13,850 that was found in a plastic container beside Commerer's bed was for the deposit on a house and $10,000 of it had come from the sale of a car, something which had been proved to police, Mr Mooney said.
He said that Commerer had passed tests to show he was now drug free.
He invited Judge Roberts to consider a young man who was addressing his issues.
Judge Roberts told Commerer he had come a long way in the five years since he had represented New Zealand in rugby.
"What a long way to fall," he said.
Judge Roberts noted the motivation and enthusiasm Commerer had in addressing his issues.
"This will work to your credit in this process," he said.