Call to pack the park

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Mid Canterbury Combined front rowers (from left) Angus Stewart, Thornton Taylor, Pasi Hala, Henry Hobbs and Ivana Milo in-training for the Pack the Park game against Selwyn Combined.

Mid Canterbury schoolboy rugby will be showcased at the inaugural Pack the Park rugby event at Ashburton College on Wednesday.

The event is the brainchild of Mid Canterbury Combined coach Shane Enright and aimed to be the equivalent of traditional inter-school matches held in other areas.

It also had the potential to grow year on year.

Coach Shane Enright

“We are still losing kids to bigger schools. We want to make this something special where parents (and) kids don’t want to go away to bigger schools (to play).

“The idea was to get it out to the public and just sort of showcase First XV rugby.”

It would show schoolboy rugby in Mid Canterbury and give young fellows in under 14s, 15s and 16s an idea of the pathway in rugby, he said.

At the event, Ashburton College Under 15 will play Mount Hutt College Under 15 in a curtain raiser at 1.20pm, before the Mid Canterbury Combined First XV (made up of players from Ashburton College, Mount Hutt and Ashburton Christian schools), will take on the Selwyn Combined First XV (Lincoln, Rolleston Darfield, Ellesmere high schools) in the main game at 3pm.

Mr Enright predicted it would be a “bloody good game” and hoped many of the district’s former first XV players could be sideline to support the teams and to form a guard of honour for players running on the field.

“The first year probably is going to be a bit slow but it will build up,” Mr Enright said, especially as people got used to it being an annual feature on the district’s rugby calendar.

Invitations had been extended around the district including to mayor Neil Brown and former Mid Canterbury-rep and current Crusader Dallas McLeod will present playing jerseys to players ahead of the game.

Food and beverages will be available on site for purchase and people are encouraged to head along to see some great local schoolboy rugby on show.