Scores of excited children were schooled in the art of the chip, grubber, sidestep and fend during a Magpies coaching clinic in Napier yesterday.

Caleb Tainui's sentiments were echoed throughout the young group of players taking part, saying: "It was mean."

Jason Long, Jarvy Aoake, Tolu Fahamokioa, Ellery Wilson, Billy Ropiha and Chris Eaton facilitated the training session with young boys and girls from the Napier Marist, Technical and Pirate clubs at Park Island.

The Magpies Rugby Holiday Programme is run during the first week of the school holidays. Days one and two were spent at Park Island with Napier rugby clubs before spending two days in Hastings and the final day on Friday in Central Hawke's Bay.


The programme helps develop young players and is designed to give kids of all ages the opportunity to be coached by current and up-and-coming Magpies.

Mr Aoake said the children worked through various stations, developing the core fundamental skills involved in the code.

The stations included tactical awareness, teamwork, catching, passing, tackling, carrying the ball into contact, kicking, the breakdown, and conditioning games. Mr Aoake said because players now did not tackle until seventh grade, a lot of those taking part had never tackled before.

"They definitely have some natural ability but it's about refining those skills."

Mr Aoake was confident of another Shannan Chase emerging from the crop of young talent. At the end of the session, players got to put in to practice what they learnt with a game. The boys even got to name their own team and choreograph an elaborate try celebration. Mr Aoake said some of the standout team names included the Illuminati, the Flying Carrots, the Tornando Tigers and the Deadly Dabbers.

All money raised from the programme is invested back into it for the next year.