Girls rugby draws crowd to Wanaka

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS - MAR­JORIE COOK

The Mount As­pir­ing Col­lege girls rugby team won their first home game of the sea­son against Cromwell Col­lege on May 24, 31-24, in front of 200 cheer­ing spec­ta­tors.

Cen­tral Otago has been host­ing girls rugby for sev­eral years, with the four dis­trict high schools from Wanaka, Cromwell, Alexan­dra and Queen­stown each boast­ing a 15-side team and le­gions of girls in Rippa Rugby.

Girls of all sizes and ages are in the teams, some in their first sea­son, oth­ers their fourth.

Most spec­ta­tors were cheer­ing for the home team with Cromwell Col­lege sup­ported by a cou­ple of coaches and a set of grand­par­ents.

But Cromwell had the fleet­footed, try-scor­ing Olivia Geneblaza, 13, who pro­duced an ap­pre­cia­tive roar when she got her hands on the ball.

The Wanaka girls’ head coach, builder Chris Leith, was ex­pect­ing a ‘‘ding dong bat­tle’’ be­tween the com­pe­ti­tion’s top two teams.

Cromwell Col­lege’s coach Paula Clark said at half­time it was one of the best games she’d seen the teams play.

Mount As­pir­ing Col­lege cap­tain Meg Har­raway be­gan play­ing three years ago.

‘‘I was the small­est per­son in the team with all the year 12s and 13s. I was kind of scared but I kept at it,’’ Har­raway said.

‘‘We went out there and they scored a cou­ple of tries. We were like oh, bet­ter pick up our game and it was pretty tough but we stuck at it and I am pretty proud of the girls.’’

Cromwell Col­lege co-cap­tains Zena Daniels and Kate Macleod are in the fifth and third year of rugby, re­spec­tively. They started be­cause their sib­lings played.

‘‘It was the best team work we’ve had. We’ve won our last two games but we haven’t played as well as we did tonight,’’ Zena said.

Their last game against Wanaka was ‘‘ter­ri­ble’’.

‘‘It was still a good game but there were a lot of prob­lems with the side line and not hav­ing ropes and peo­ple com­ing on to the field . ... We didn’t re­ally en­joy it be­cause of that ... it was very hard for us, it was quite neg­a­tive,’’ Kate said.

This year, they were shown sig­nif­i­cantly more re­spect, giv­ing Cromwell more con­fi­dence.

Later this year, an Otago Coun­try team (Bal­clutha through to Wanaka) will be se­lected to play Metro (Dunedin se­condary schools) and South­ern Coun­try (In­ver­cargill and South­land).

MAR­JORIE COOK

Mount As­pir­ing Col­lege rugby play­ers. from left Ge­or­gia Budd, Fiona Mur­ray, cap­tain Meg Har­raway, Mia Urquhart and Latisha Hal­crow.

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