Tue, 24 May 2016
The Counties Manukau Junior competition has its first all-girls Rippa team, but there’s not just one team, there are two.
The Karaka Junior Rugby Club has an Under 6 and an Under 7 all-girls team and it all stemmed from their touch module which they run in October through until December. The touch module is organised by Karaka Premier coach Craig Hill. Karaka Junior Rugby Club President Jared Williams said they mixed boys and girls in the touch teams, but they quickly discovered there was a large amount of girls.
“The girls were playing touch and really enjoying it. Our Club Captain, George Glover and Adele Loveridge, who is the wife of one of our Committee Members, started making contact with these girls primarily through Karaka School and Te Hihi School and they started discussing whether they would enjoy playing rugby. That set the foundation and in early February we ran a pre-season training as our Muster and at that point we started inviting girls along.
“We taught them the basic skills and then once we got to about 10 girls it just kept growing and growing until we got to 18 and then we were able to split out and have an Under 6 and an Under 7 girls team.”
The Under 6 girls drew their first game against Drury and the Under 7 girls played the Papakura Wasps and won 12-9 but Williams gave plenty of credit to the Papakura Wasps.
“They had two girls in their team which was awesome. I guess it shows there are more and more girls coming through the grades and what we have proposed later on in the season is meeting with some of the other clubs and looking at how we approach our recruitment and how we gage girls team. It would be great to have an all-girls grade at some stage. However, it will be hard next year when the Under 7 girls move up to tackle, so it will be all about holding onto them.”
A couple of the parents and Williams have been helping out with the Under 7 side and Karaka Premier loose forward Longo Fotofili coaches the Under 6 side.
“I heard there was going to be a girls’ team and they didn’t have a coach so I put my hand up. My daughter plays in the team too so it worked out well.
“It’s good to see the game grow for the girls,” said Fotofili.
“It’s the first all-girls team ever to be in a Counties Manukau competition and we have two of them which is great for the club. I just wanted to give back to Karaka because I have been there for a while and they have done a lot for me, so this is my chance to repay them for all they have done for me.”
In the second weekend of games, the Under 6 team lost by one try and the Under 7’s had a close encounter with Manurewa, eventually coming away with a 14-13 victory.