Te Mata School will be flying the flag for Hawke's Bay at this year's Air New Zealand Rippa Rugby Championship.

Two hundred Rippa rugby players, representing 20 schools from around New Zealand, will meet for a two-day tournament in Wellington on September 18 and 19.

More than 600 schools played in tournaments around the country to qualify to represent their school and province.

For the first time, this year's tournament will see selected finals day matches streamed live on the Small Blacks TV Facebook page.


New Zealand Rugby general manager community and provincial rugby, Brent Anderson, said the championship was in its seventh year and an event that young rugby players aim for.

"It's a really special opportunity for kids to represent not only their school, but also their province.

"It's a fantastic event. The teams come to the capital with their teammates and for many it's their first time to Wellington. They make new friends from all over New Zealand and have a lot of fun.

"All the teams in the tournament have worked really hard all season and this is their reward. It's their chance to test their skills against kids from around the country."

Te Mata School teacher and coach Sam Chatfield said this would be the school's fourth time representing Hawke's Bay at the tournament and the excitement was building.

"The team's working very hard and they really enjoy being part of it and playing Rippa rugby.

"They're looking forward to getting out there and competing against the other teams from around New Zealand. It's a great game because girls and boys play together and they all need to learn to work as a team in order to do well. It's loads of fun."

Rippa rugby is a fun, safe non-contact form of the game where primary school-aged girls and boys take part in mixed teams.

Teams are made up of five boys and five girls, aged 9 and 10, giving youngsters from smaller rural regions the chance to compete against larger schools from the cities.

All players will be up for an APPLAUD Award, given out to the player who demonstrates good sportsmanship throughout the tournament. APPLAUD is a New Zealand Rugby initiative encouraging participants and supporters to be good sports and to stamp out anti-social sideline behaviour.

The Air New Zealand Rippa Rugby Championship is taking place with the support of Air New Zealand, New Zealand Community Trust and New Zealand Rugby Principal Partner adidas.

Tournament details: Wakefield Park, Island Bay, Wellington, full draw at www.smallblacks.com, live stream: www.facebook.com/SmallBlacksTV

Monday, September 18
• 10.20am kickoff
• 10.20am-1.20pm pool play

Tuesday, September 19
• 9am-12.45pm quarter, semi, third and fourth place playoffs
• 12.45pm final
• 1.30pm trophy and medal presentation.