Running out on the field, some for the very first time, will be the new Monday afternoon reality for more than 200 Eastern Bay children.

About 230 primary and intermediate school boys and girls will take part in the inaugural Eastern Bay RIP Rugby Module at Rex Morpeth Park in Whakatāne.

Played across four consecutive Mondays from 3.30pm to 5pm, the children will get to experience Rip rugby, some for the very first time, Bay of Plenty Rugby said in a media statement.

Rip Rugby, or quick rip as it was previously called, is a version of sevens rugby, except it's played on half a field and there's no tackling.

Instead, the players wear a velcro belt around their waist with two tags, one on each hip.


There's kicking allowed, non-contested three-person scrums where the feeding team wins the ball and contested but no lifting lineouts.

Advantage can be played and with experience, the game can become fast and exciting.

Given the non-contact nature, the teams are mixed, with boys and girls playing together.

The other unique feature of this competition is that it is non-competitive. Teams can keep score if they want to, but there are no points on offer.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union community rugby manager Pat Rae. Photo / File
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union community rugby manager Pat Rae. Photo / File

Community Rugby manager Pat Rae said while the organisation had one-off rippa rugby days in the past, it had never had a four-week consecutive module before.

"The other exciting thing about this is we've deliberately targeted non-traditional rugby schools, smaller schools with kids who come from communities that might not otherwise have opportunities to play organised sport.

"Equipment-wise, Bay of Plenty Rugby provides it all. The kids can just find their teams in the draw, rock up 10 minutes beforehand and play."

Brainchild and driving force behind the initiative is Eastern Bay of Plenty junior rugby officer Moana Hona-Rangiaho.

Rae said Hona-Rangiaho, a Kawerau resident, had been "awesome" for the Eastern Bay junior rugby.

The referees will also all be new, Rae said.


A number of current secondary school rugby players had offered to support their younger peers by taking the step up to referee.

Community Volunteers Development manager Cam Russell said Refereeing the games would provide a softer option, over full tackle, to start refereeing careers.

"The skillsets are the same, without having to worry about safe tackling or contested scrums.

"It's really important that we wrap support around these secondary school students who are embarking on their refereeing career to add to their playing career."