Community rugby sevens is back in the Bay this year, with the introduction of a brand-new tournament.
In November, four sevens tournaments will be held at Paengaroa Domain, including the Baywide Secondary School Girls', Baywide Secondary School Boys', Baywide Senior Club, and the new Baywide Youth Club tournament.
The new tournament is aimed at secondary school-age children who are playing for their secondary school, and allows them to go back and play for their junior rugby clubs.
The Youth Club Sevens initiative is aimed at re-establishing the link between secondary school players and their junior club so when they eventually leave school, they can seamlessly go back into the senior club environment.
"With the launch of the Youth Club Sevens tournament, we are providing new opportunities for our teenage rugby players within the Bay of Plenty by enabling them to go back and play for their junior clubs," Bay of Plenty Rugby community capability manager Lisa Appert said.
Rangataua rugby delegate Brad Ririnui said the new tournament was "a massive opportunity" for clubs.
"This is a huge opportunity for our club in keeping a connection with our Rangatahi," he said.
"Typically, they play junior rugby for their clubs for eight years, then they are out of sight for five years while they attend college.
"We are excited because this new tournament set in place by the BOPRU will help our club bind and mentor these young ones as they make their way through college, with the hope that when they leave, we are still their first thought to winter sports.
"It's quite challenging out there at the moment to obtain and encourage new, younger players into senior-level rugby. This is a great pathway to help Rangataua and all Bay of Plenty rugby clubs."
The Baywide Club Sevens tournament is the largest sevens event in the Bay, where all senior clubs are invited to come together and compete for their respective titles.
With eight grades across the men's and women's (Premier, Te Manawa Whenua, Tight 5, Colts, Over 35) divisions, clubs have plenty of opportunities to get involved in what will be a fantastic day of rugby.
Clubs or schools wanting to enter teams can do so online at boprugby.co.nz/sevens, while players aged 12-18 who want to be involved in the Baywide Youth Sevens Tournament can contact their junior club delegate for more information.
2021 Bay of Plenty Sevens Tournaments
• Baywide Secondary School Girls' Sevens (U15s & U19s) Wednesday, November 3 – Entries close Monday, October 25. Baywide Secondary School Boys' Sevens (U14s, U16s & U19s) November 6 - Entries close October 25.
• Baywide Senior Club Sevens (Premier Men's, Premier Women's, Te Manawa Whenua Men's, Te Mana Whenua Women's, Tight Five Men's, Tight 5 Women's, Colts, Over 35's) November 13 – Entries close November 1.
• Baywide Youth Club Sevens (U14s, U16s & U18s) November 20 – Entries close November 8.