The Mahurangi Rugby Football Club has welcomed 50 new players to its junior competition this season, with 275 children in total registered for the opening round played on May 6.
Club junior secretary Deborah Steel says the 22 per cent growth in registered juniors is across all grades, which cater for ages four to 12.
“I think the reasons for the increase are positive word-of-mouth, new families coming into the area and children switching codes,” she says.
Additionally, the club has introduced a new four-year-old rippa rugby programme, held on Thursday nights, with two teams entered.
“It’s a great opportunity for young players to learn rippa rugby without the Saturday morning commitment for parents.”
The club was trying to set up a team this season to play in the girls Over Seven rippa competition, but couldn’t get enough registrations.
“We are hoping with some more promotion we can enter a side next year for girls who don’t want to play tackle rugby, but would like another option from the traditional female sports.”
Deborah says dealing with late registrations has been a challenge for the club this year.
“The committee has been very busy so far organising registration events, sponsorship, our muster day and setting up teams.”
The club also hosted the Seaforth Balgowlah Raiders U10 touring team from Australia from April 19 to 23, whose members were billeted by the junior players’ families.
The visitors took the shield in the fifth exchange between the two sides, winning both of the two matches.
The MRFC will begin fundraising soon to send an U11 team to Australia to continue the tradition next year.
The club hosted 16 games for the opening round of junior rugby on May 6, with every team from the North Harbour J5 grade at the venue.
“The results were mixed for Mahurangi, but it was an enjoyable opening round for the season,” Deborah says.