Wanderers and Motueka enjoy an U18 match in the sun (Photo: Dion Iorns)
As an absolute rugby tragic last weekend was heaven. At 9.45am I went with my son to watch the Nelson College Blue U14 team play Motueka High School which was enjoyable.
Then it was on to the match of the weekend, Nelson College playing Waimea Combined Schools in a 1st XV derby. The players and coaches of both teams should be congratulated for the quality of the match which saw Nelson College prevail in the last five minutes. It was a 1st XV match of the highest quality.
Following that it was off to Trafalgar Park to watch Kahurangi play Nelson. Again, a terrific game of rugby union was played with skill, pace and determination that ended with Kahurangi winning by two.
From the weekend, what has caught my eye is that Wanderers Sports Club have recently created an Under 18 team and they travelled to Motueka for the opening encounter in the 2020 competition. They were playing against a Motueka Under 18 team operating under the Motueka High School umbrella with the support of the Huia Rugby Club.
This age group player development at a club level is crucial to engaging with the U18 youth. I witnessed firsthand the success of this program at the Central club in Marlborough over the last two years with an Under 18 team. In 2020 this team is now the core of the Central’s division 2 team while a number of players have also graduated to the top grade.
It is brilliant that both clubs (Wanderers and Motueka High) are making a positive contribution to growing teenage rugby participation in in our region. It was particularly pleasing to hear from Wanderers Marty Davis that there were a good number of supporters present, who enjoyed a thoroughly competitive and entertaining match.
In an even first half Wanderers crossed first and were on course to sneak the win but in a great display of resilience and tenacity, Motueka scored right on full-time and with the successful conversion, took the win 24-22 between two very evenly matched teams. This is the future of rugby in the region and the future for rugby clubs.
We know that the youth of today want to play rugby with their mates in an evenly contested competition with integrity, combined with good coaching and refereeing.
In my opinion last weekend RUGBY WAS DEFINITELY THE WINNER.
Following the weekend’s JAB and Age Grade games, get along to one of these matches this weekend ~
1. Car Company Nelson Bays Division 1 – 3pm
a. Stoke v Marist @ Greenmeadows
b. Nelson v Waimea Old Boys @ Trafalgar Park
2. Wadsco Motorworld Marlborough Division 1 – 3pm
a. Central v Waitohi @ Lansdowne Park
b. Awatere v Renwick @ Seddon Domain
3. Golden Bay Fruit Senior Women’s Rugby- Semi Finals – 1.15pm
a. Waimea Old Boys v Moutere @ Jubilee Park
b. Riwaka v Wanderers @ Cooks Reserve
4. UC Championship 1st XV games @ 12 noon
a. Waimea Combined v Rangiora High School @ Waimea College
b. Nelson College v Christchurch Boys High School @ NC Front Field
c. Marlborough Boys College v Christ’s College @ MBC