Young female players took over Silverdale Rugby Club’s grounds on Saturday, May 11 for a Girls’ Non-Contact Rugby Festival Day, held to mark the start of the season.
A total of 51 teams from the North Harbour region took part, made up of around 500 girls, all aged 15 or younger. All were playing non-contact forms of the game – the U15 and U13 teams played Quick Rip and the younger ones played Rippa.
Rugby Manager for Women at North Harbour Rugby, Sarah McIlroy, says the region is one of the fastest growing for women’s rugby in New Zealand and that non-contact forms of the game are increasing participation rates.
She says North Harbour Rugby has almost doubled their non-contact rugby grades in a year from around 30 girls teams last year to more than 60, covering both boys and girls (2019 is the first year for boys).
“The festival day was a great way to kick off the season, congratulate the clubs on their efforts in growing the game and give the girls a fun day out playing rugby with their friends,” Sarah says.
For many of the girls, the festival at Silverdale was the first time they had played the game. Parents said that their girls were encouraged to take part because it was an all-female event, and that increased their confidence.
The Silverdale event began with a mass warm up, followed by three rounds of games.