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Youngsters have a great time at festival


Call it future-proofing. And call it a great outing for kids to play the national game.

Eight clubs and 10 teams took part in Uawa Sports Club’s Festival of Rugby at Uawa Domain on Saturday.

The inaugural festival featured four teams in the under-9 grade — Uawa, Ruatoria City, Ngatapa and High School Old Boys — and six teams in the under-10 section (Uawa, City, Tihirau Victory Club, Waikirikiri, YMP and OBM). Uawa beat HSOB 35-25 to win the under-9s final and Uawa also won the u10s final, beating YMP 40-0.

Shirley Mullany, manager of the TVC u10s who lost 20-5 to Uawa in their semifinal, said they had a great day.

“For a lot of our youngsters, it was the first time they’d actually played in an all-day tournament,” she said.

“It was an awesome experience for them and we’ll definitely be back next year.”

The proposal of a one-day rugby festival for mixed 10-a-side teams was the brainchild of Uawa committee member Peter Crawford, and was taken up by both the East Coast and Poverty Bay unions.

“The standard of junior rugby is high compared with 15 years ago,” Crawford said.

“Some kids are chip-kicking and kick-passing, such is their confidence,” he said.

“We had a couple of players pushing 50kg, but the YMP weight-restricted team played with a lion’s heart in the under-10s final. They had a lot of skill and speed.”

ON THE BURST: Uawa under-10s player of the year Jorjah Tuapawa on the run against Tihirau Victory Club in the semifinal at Uawa Domain. Picture by Jessica Pardoe-Crawford