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Metro Junior Rugby in Good Heart this Season
Metro Junior Rugby is one of the breeding grounds for top players in the province and this season the competition kicks off, along with many other competitions, on 4 April.
Entries don’t close until 20 March, although according to management committee member Ray Steele, the competitions are likely to be of similar strength to last season. “With just under a month to go before entries close, we have about two thirds of the numbers we had last season and so we are right on track.”
One of the major issues for Metro junior rugby this season is whether an under-14 under-weight competition will be run. “We have certainly detected an interest from a number of clubs and schools for this sort of competition,” Ray says.
It is felt that in this day and age with young players getting bigger and bigger, that the opportunity for the smaller player to stay interested in rugby is lessening. “They sometimes don’t enjoy it as much as the others because they are smaller,” Ray says, “so the aim is to try and keep them involved in the sport and interested.”
If six clubs or schools decide to enter teams in the competition then the division will proceed. “You need six teams as it really isn’t practicable to have four,” Ray says.
The weight division in this age group has been successfully implemented in Wellington and Auckland (both of whom have large Polynesian populations).
As in other parts of Canterbury, the under-6 grade continues to grow. Last season there were 30 teams competing and this season there may be more. “For young players at that age it is all about making sure they are involved and that they get the feel of the ball in their hands,” Ray says. “If you can garner their interest at this stage then they are more likely to stay involved in the sport later on.”
For the JAB teams the weeks between 4-25 April involve pre-season matches, before the official grading day on 2 May. The competition begins outright on 9 May.
“We are all really looking forward to this season. With the Super 14 having started up again and with the always popular Todd Blackadder at the helm of the Crusaders, we are sure that we will have good numbers this season.”
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