Boom in Wellington junior rugby registrations

Wellington is experiencing a boom in junior rugby registrations.

The capital's temperatures haven't been the only thing spiking in the capital over summer, with junior rugby registrations unseasonably high through the first two months of 2016.

A total of 1463 youngsters have already signed up to play rugby this year despite clubs having only just begun the annual registration push.

Wellington Rugby Football Union manager of amateur rugby Will Caccia-Birch said the numbers were pleasant surprise.

"At this time of the year we would typically see junior numbers in the low hundreds, so to be nearly at 1500 is great news," he said. "The numbers are all the more encouraging considering Wellington's rugby clubs are holding their junior registration nights this week."

Every junior player in the region was mailed a post card from All Blacks star Beauden Barrett last week and the Hurricanes squad were out and about at clubs tonight.

Every registered junior player in 2016 will be offered a free family pass (two adults and three kids) to the Hurricanes' first Super Rugby home match at Westpac Stadium, against the Southern Kings on Easter Friday.

Caccia-Birch said the surge in numbers in the capital was likely off the back of the union's move to online registrations, the Hurricanes reaching the Super Rugby final last year and the All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup.

"There is certainly increased interest and we've seen that through our new website, Play Rugby, where registration has become a simple and easy process. Historically the All Blacks winning a World Cup has seen a spike nationally, but we wouldn't expect to see those numbers coming through quite so early in the year."

Wellington saw a 12.5 percent increase in junior playing numbers in 2012 on the back of the All Blacks winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup and numbers surged eight percent nationally.

Wellington rugby was aiming to sign up 5000 juniors in 2016 after 4522 laced up their boots in 2015.

- NZ Herald

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