Rippa Rugby kids head south

Crest Clean's Angelo Dayrit passes the ball to Netherby's Rippa Rugby team captain Rocky Tindleheka and the squad training ahead of the recent Subway Cup finals in Oamaru.

Netherby School pupils will represent their school this week in the Subway Cup Rippa Rugby finals in Oamaru.

The school’s squad, made up of Year 6 pupils, qualified after winning Pool B play during the qualifying Rippa Rugby tournament hosted by the Mid Canterbury Rugby Union, at the Ashburton Showgrounds last month.

Principal Phil Wheeler said 15 teams were involved in the qualifying tournament and only five made it through to the finals; the winners of each of the three pool groups, and two wildcard entries.

Also heading south for finals are teams from Chertsey (Pool A winners), Rakaia (Pool C winners) and wildcards Carew/Peel Forest and Lauriston schools.

Mr Wheeler said his school had a squad of 14 children, but only 10 would head south for the finals day event on Wednesday.

It was a mixed competition which saw four boys and three girls per team on the field at any one time.

The Netherby team, coached by teacher support Roz Cuter, parent Semi Ratu and Mr Wheeler, won all their games during qualifying, scoring, on average, eight tries per game; players were generally fit and fast.

“We have a lot of Pacific flair in our team,” he said.

As good luck and support for the Netherby team, Crest Clean crew had come on board and donated five rugby balls to the school ahead of cup day.

They were presented to team captain Rocky Tindleheka and some of the squad this week by Crest Clean’s Angelo Dayrit.

The children were looking forward to their trip and had been training during the week as much as time, weather and sickness would allow, Mr Wheeler said.

“They are doing it for fun and excited about going to Oamaru and competing against other schools,” he said.