The Warkworth Primary School Year 5 and 6 girls rippa rugby team drew a controversial Hibiscus Coast Rugby final at QBE North Harbour Stadium on September 23.
The side finished 4-4 against Campbells Bay School in a curtain raiser for a Mitre 10 Cup match. But some supporters and officials believe the actual score was 5-4 to Warkworth after scoring discrepancies between match officials. Teacher-in-charge Nicole Callender says it is an unfortunate situation to be in, but the team is treating it as a victory.
“Mentally they had to be very strong and believe they could beat Campbells Bay School, who are one of the top teams in the North Island,” Nicole says.
“Teamwork was the side’s biggest asset. I felt they were dominant in the final mainly conceding on the counter attack.”
Nicole highlighted captain Alice Cleland as the team’s top player.
“She has the skills and ambition to become a Black Fern and currently represents North Harbour. Inangaro Haurua was the other standout player. She is in line to be the captain next year with Alice leaving.”
This is the first Warkworth girl’s team to make a final and repeating that feat could be difficult in future.
“I’ve worked with this group since they were in Year 3 and nine squad members will go to college next year so bringing through that many talented players will be a challenge.”
The full team included Louise Makin, Ava Jane-Rashleigh, Taylor Turner, Sophie Callender, Cleo Carmichael, Isabel Mather, Akoia Teakin and Alex Murphy.
Millie Palmer was also a squad member, but was unable to play in the final.