Matauri Bay Primary School has won the right to represent Northland at the national Rippa Rugby championships in Wellington next month.

The Far North team will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to the capital where they will be placed in a field featuring the championship winners from the other provincial unions.

Coach Jared Nordstrom said he will caution the Far North players against being too "big-headed" before leaving for the event.

They may have been the big guns on home turf, winning 20-odd games on their path to the nationals, but they will find themselves being pitted against far bigger schools at the nationals.


"It's about enjoying the experience as much as the football," he said of the upcoming trip, where the team will also likely get the chance to meet some All Blacks who are known to pop into the event to check out the future talent.


Matauri Bay's path to the nationals began by winning all three games in the opening regional tournament at Taipa.

They progressed to the provincial finals in Kerikeri which were held in the last week of Term 2 where, they finished second in their pool with wins over Paparore and Otangarei along with a loss to Hurupaki from Kamo.

Matauri Bay then beat Totara Grove, highest qualifier from the opposing pool, in the quarter-final and Hurupaki in the semi-final, gaining some revenge for the loss in pool play, and defeated Mangawhai Beach in the final 9-7.

It is the third time at the nationals for Nordstrom, having taken a team representing the east coast kura to the 2015 championships. Playing during the Rugby World Cup, Matauri Bay was elected to represent Canada, which Nordstorm said wasn't as much of an honour for most as playing for Northland.

Only one player remains in the team from that side — Moana Rush — who was a Year 3 student when she played the 2015 final of the Year 5/6 tournament.

The daughter of well-known Whangaroa rugby identity Robert 'Bru' Rush, Moana had developed into a player of real potential and would captain the side at this year's tournament, Nordstrom said.


Nordstrom also took Fairfield Primary School from Hamilton as the Waikato champions to the event in 2011.

An estimated 200 Rippa Rugby stars are preparing for a two-day tournament in Wellington next month to compete for the 2018 Air New Zealand Rippa Rugby Championship title.

A total of 20 school teams representing the provincial rugby unions throughout New Zealand will compete.

To qualify to represent their school and province over 600 schools played in qualifying tournaments around the country.

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

Teams are made up of five boys and five girls, aged 10 and 11 years, giving youngsters from the smaller rural regions the chance to compete against larger schools from the cities.