MPs’ good start to sea­son

Central Leader - - SPORT - By SIMON SMITH

Politi­cians have kicked off their World Cup count­down by lac­ing up the boots and hit­ting the field.

The Par­lia­men­tary Rugby Team took on a ro­ta­tion of Waitem­ata pres­i­dents teams on Satur­day at Waitem­ata Park, win­ning con­vinc­ingly 48-12.

The match fea­tured Ep­som List MP Paul Gold­smith.

List MP Al­fred Ngaro says it was good to take the field against his for­mer rugby club.

‘‘I thought some of my old friends might turn around and give me a bit of a rough­ing up, but no, they were ac­tu­ally quite easy on us.’’

This year the PRT is made up of a core of Par­lia­men­tary staff and fam­ily, with about nine MPs from dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

The team is head­ing to the United King­dom in Septem­ber for the Par­lia­men­tary World Cup. New Zealand are four times cham­pi­ons in the tour­na­ment, which hap­pens be­fore each Rugby World Cup.

Ngaro, who plays at flanker, says the game was held in good spirit with ‘‘ no nig­gly play’’ and no ma­jor in­juries.

‘‘Our for­wards were quite dom­i­nant and just got some good roll on,’’ he says.

‘‘For us they were com­peti- tive, they are out there push­ing us and tack­ling and we re­ally had to make sure we got our com­bi­na­tions right.’’

Ngaro says although he didn’t score any tries on Satur­day, he did set up three.

He had no choice, he says, be­cause the game was played with a rule whereby the ball- car­rier is only al­lowed to run 15 me­tres.

‘‘So while I was close to the line, I was be­ing yelled at by the ref to re­lease it.’’

Ngaro says Waitem­ata were good hosts and put on a nice spread af­ter­wards.

‘‘It’s the chance to en­gage in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, to get peo­ple to see us for who we are. And it of­ten de­mys­ti­fies or takes away some of the per­cep­tions that are of­ten cre­ated about Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment.’’

As well as a chance to play rugby, the day also raised about $3000 for the United North Piha Life­guard Ser­vice through an auc­tion and a PRT do­na­tion.

The four MPs, above, tak­ing part in the match are Damien O’Con­nor, Mark Mitchell, Al­fred Ngaro and Paul Gold­smith.

Pho­tos: PHOTOTEK

Ep­som-based list MP Paul Gold­smith gath­ers the ball ahead of the Waitem­ata for­wards.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans co-cap­tains Te Atatu List MP Al­fred Ngaro and Ep­som List MP Damien O’Con­nor dis­cuss tac­tics for the match.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans’ Billy Weepu takes on the de­fence.

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