There is a saying about ageing with beauty, but is there one to do with ageing with dedication? If so, members of the Manaia Golden Oldies rugby side are doing just that.

As Manaia Golden Oldies president Ross Brown puts it, playing rugby into your later years is more about the camaraderie and experience than the winning and losing.

Building on their comradely experience in Northland, Manaia's "old guys" are stepping it up a notch and will head to Argentina next year for the Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival.

The 53-years-young Brown said the side had come a long way since starting up a couple of years ago with about 20 people playing touch on an unused rugby field.


"It's just a bunch of people around the local community who like rugby. We've got about eight over 50, the youngest would be about 35. It's more a social thing because we're a social area.

"I always wanted to start a golden oldies team," explained Brown, who owns the local service station in Parua Bay.

"[But], it just didn't work out. Then, I put an advert up in the window and had a meeting, which about 20 people came to.

"At our first game [against Old Boys] we had about 100 spectators and about 33 players on the day. [And], from there, on we went."

Since then, Manaia have forged relationships with Auckland clubs and now play matches with them every now-and-then, with Manaia usually getting about eight or nine games in per year.

Brown added that when the Auckland clubs travel north the hospitality the community offered seemed to blow them away.

"Everybody gets behind us ... when they come play up here they're blown away because we supply them with food and things, they can't believe people help out to get behind a pack of old guys playing rugby."

Brown says preparation for the tournament begins this weekend as Parua Bay gets behind an auction at the community hall.


Brown added that a number of the items which will be auctioned on Saturday have been donated, from the hay bales to the ITM Cup corporate box tickets.

The team travelling to Argentina will be running the event themselves, with viewing of the auction items starting at 12pm before the main action starts at 2pm.

Brown said if anyone was interested in getting behind the team or joining up to pop in and have a chat.

"We had a guy come in who said 'I'm not 35 yet but I will be in a few months, can I get involved?', which you need because we get guys leaving every year because, you know, the body isn't quite what it used to be."