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CEO Chat with Tony Lewis

The First Day of JAB Rugby

Wow, what a great weekend for rugby on the first Saturday in May, highlighted by the start of JAB and Age Group rugby. I remember back to this age, as I'm sure many of you do, and the absolute joy of the first game of the season. My grandfather would be telling me to dress and look like a rugby player as that might fool the opposition. 

Check out Shuttersport JAB & Age Grade photos 

The regular Friday night procedure was to clean my boots with nugget! Have my jersey, shorts and socks folded on the end of the bed with my mouth guard on top of my gear. As soon as I woke up at the crack of dawn, I would get dressed in all my gear straight away, including boots and mouth guard. I would be so, so excited about the game which was probably three plus hours away. 

On Saturday morning I made my way to Tahunanui to witness the first day of Under 8 rugby where tacking was introduced to the players for the first time. The TRU Community Rugby team held a “Tackle Box” skills session to introduce all the players to the correct processes of making a successful tackle. This initiative is essential because tackling has the biggest impact on young players enjoying the game, and I believe can also be a cause of player injury, which affects their desire to continue in the game and having fun. 

I thank my staff for managing the skill session and the Academy players who assisted.

It was fantastic to see all the players, coaches, teams and parents enjoying the skill development of tackling first, and then playing rugby with a tackle for the first time over the next two hours. What impressed me the most was the coaches encouragement of the players using correct technique and those young players who were struggling to tackle.

I was impressed to see a number of our senior rugby referees assisting on Saturday morning. Corey Eggers was doing an under 11 game and Stefan James was refereeing WOB Under 8 team with his daughter Lily playing tackle for the first time. What an experience for these young players to have the top two Nelson referees officiating their games. It was also great to see Wyatt Crockett involved in coaching his son's Nelson Under 8 team too.

It was magnificent on a warm Saturday morning to see the next generation of Mako players playing rugby for the first time in 2019. They were having a ball, smiling and playing with their mates. What a great one to start a weekend playing rugby. Oh those were the days ....

Tony Lewis