Dannevirke: Play together, stay together

By Christine McKay

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Playing together in Aotea's third division rugby team this season, Brad Johnson 38, his nephew Bailey, 14, and Brian, 40, Bailey's father and Brad's brother. Photo / Christine McKay
Playing together in Aotea's third division rugby team this season, Brad Johnson 38, his nephew Bailey, 14, and Brian, 40, Bailey's father and Brad's brother. Photo / Christine McKay

Rugby flows through the veins of Brian Johnson's family and they live up to the old adage a family which plays together, stays together.

Brian, 40, his son Bailey, 14 and brother and uncle Brad, 38, are all members of the Aotea Rugby Club's third division team in the Hawke's Bay competition.

And there are advantages to father and son being on the field together, Brian said.

"We don't argue as much as we do off the field."

Although he retired four years ago, Brian came back to play after his son asked him.

"I'm just doing it to run around with the young fella," he said. "I coached Bailey in colts rugby and last year he was in the Hawke's Bay Under-14 representative team. All my kids play rugby, even my daughter, and I never miss an All Blacks or Super 15 game."

Brian's brother, Brad, hasn't considered retirement yet.

"I'm proud to play with Bailey, it's about helping the young ones coming through," he said.

For Aotea's manager, Fiona Carson, having three family members on the paddock in one team is what third division rugby is all about. "It's really cool," she said.

Last Saturday, up against Napier Old Boys' Marist at Dannevirke's Rugby Park, the Johnsons were part of an Aotea third division team which almost pulled off a win, going down 39-34, after leading 22-7 at halftime.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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