Female rugby in Mid Canterbury got a much needed boost last week with the running of a Girls Have A Go Day.
It was for girls ranging from Under 8s through to Under 18s, covering those aged from seven to 17, with or without any previous rugby experience.
Mid Canterbury Rugby Union women’s development officer Kirsty Arps said the day had plenty of interest with 35 young players registered for the holiday programme session.
“All the girls from Mid Canterbury have been asked to come and have a go at rugby,” Kirsty said.
The girls had plenty of guidance during the day from women’s rugby players such as Jo Bucknall, Megan Hurley, Mel Puckett, Madison Trusler-Clark and Angel Spooner.
They did drills, passing and tackle work, as well as playing a game.
The session was a prelude to setting up a girls-only rugby grade in Mid Canterbury for Under 11s/Under 13s and fortnightly female-only training sessions.
It was run to help give girls a chance to try rugby out, or learn some new skills.
“Currently the girls have to play with the boys from Under 6 Rippa (rugby) to Under 13s, and then from there they go into the secondary schools competition.
“Then from there, there is a women’s grade that they can go into afterwards,” Kirsty said.
It was a popular sport for girls with 59 girls, aged Under 8, playing Rippa rugby and around 36 girls already registered to play from Under 8s through to Under 12s grades.
It warranted setting up a girls-only grade during the week for the younger players, aiming to grow the sport among girls.
“We are looking at doing an Under 11s/Under 13s girls-only grade which will be starting in a couple of months,” Kirsty said.
There were plenty of girls already registered in the grade, and if it was played mid-week it could attract more to play, she said.
There were also plans for a girls-only training programme called Practice to Perfect. It will run twice a month.
Female only sessions can help girls gain confidence faster, than just playing alongside their male team mates, she said.
“All the girls from the Under 8s grade up will (be able to) come and train girls only. They will learn tackle technique, they can ask questions and just be in a female only environment to learn it and that can go back to their actual clubs,” she said.
The training session would be on top of their club practices and Saturday game time. Anyone interested in learning more can contact Kirsty at the Mid Canterbury Rugby Union, or check out their Facebook page.