Rippa experience for junior team

By Mike Dinsdale

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The Kamo Primary School rippa rugby team got to meet the All Blacks on Monday in Wellington. Photo / Dave Lintott Photography
The Kamo Primary School rippa rugby team got to meet the All Blacks on Monday in Wellington. Photo / Dave Lintott Photography

Kamo Primary School's team didn't make it through to the final of the national Rippa Rugby Championship, but they came away with some lifelong memories, including meeting the All Blacks.

The school's rippa rugby team represented Northland in the national championship in Wellington this week but failed to make it through to the finals, despite some good performances.

The team beat King Country, Canterbury, Taranaki and Wellington and lost to Poverty Bay, Otago and eventual winners Waikato.

However, on Monday evening the team got to meet the All Black stars who will be playing the second Bledisloe Cup test against Australia in Wellington on Saturday.

Kamo Primary School's Jacob Lowther makes a dash past the defence in the team's game against Canterbury.
Kamo Primary School's Jacob Lowther makes a dash past the defence in the team's game against Canterbury.

Team coach Tim Burke said the young team members didn't know the ABs would be turning up but after Monday's play all the teams gathered together and the organisers got them to start up a chant - "Let's go All Blacks" - and in walked the champion rugby team.

"They got to see all their favourite stars and the team got to spend a lot of time with (Blues lock) Patrick Tuipulotu and do all kinds of fun stuff with them, including playing games and wrapping them up in toilet paper - lots of fun activities.

"It will give them some lifelong memories, a real once-in-a-lifetime experience for them," Mr Burke said.

"It was just so awesome for them. They are shattered now though ..."

He said the team had such a great time - including visiting Te Papa - that he was already planning how the school could win the Northland tournament again next year so they can go back to the national championships.

Kamo Primary's Nathan Christensen gets ready to pass the ball in the team's rippa rugby game against King Country.
Kamo Primary's Nathan Christensen gets ready to pass the ball in the team's rippa rugby game against King Country.

"Hopefully, we'll have some good young players coming through."

The championship has grown over the years since it began in 2011, and over 600 schools play in regional tournaments across the country to qualify to represent their province.

- Northern Advocate

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