Karaka’s first girls’ rugby team tough

Franklin County News - - OUT & ABOUT - ALAN APTED

‘‘They are com­pet­i­tive be­cause they are all girls and of course the boys nat­u­rally think they will steam roll our girls.’’

An all girls’ un­der-9 rugby team from Karaka is show­ing the boys how it’s done.

They’re Karaka Black, a band of mainly eight and nine-year-olds from the Karaka Rugby Club.

There are also two tenyear-olds to make up the num­bers. They have spe­cial per­mis­sion from the Coun­ties Manukau Rugby Union to play so the team re­mains an all girls’ one.

It’s their first year of tackle rugby and they’re frus­trat­ing the boys and some fathers no end with their pas­sion, skill, team work, fear­less­ness and win­ning ways.

But every game is a chal­lenge.

Some of the boys in op­pos­ing teams are big­ger, faster and more ex­pe­ri­enced at tack­ling but the girls’ have shrugged off size and rep­u­ta­tions to rack up a four win, three loss record with three games to play.

Kim Has­san and Ari­hi­ana Marino, two rugby stal­warts from the Ma­nurewa Rugby Club, have taken them un­der their wing.

Has­san rep­re­sented both Auck­land and Coun­ties Manukau and Marino is a for­mer New Zea­land Sevens rep­re­sen­ta­tive, a Black Fern tri­al­ist, the Coun­ties Manukau Heat half back and a one time Kiwi Fern.

‘‘I stepped in be­cause there was no one else to give them a hand and dragged Ari­hi­ana in with me,’’ Has­san says.

‘‘There were a cou­ple of fathers who of­fered but they couldn’t be there at the game so we said we’d come down and help out and ended up coach­ing them full time,’’ Has­san says.

Catch­ing, pass­ing, tack­ling and wrestling is at the heart of their train­ing.

Has­san says the girls have a fire in their belly and are lov­ing the chance to play the game like their brothers do.

‘‘They are com­pet­i­tive be­cause they are all girls and of course the boys nat­u­rally think they will steam roll our girls. Our girls are fight­ers and never give up. Even in their losses they come off smil­ing.

‘‘What has set this team apart is the fact they are all girls play­ing in a grade where all other teams have had one year of tackle rugby up their sleeve.

‘‘Our girls haven’t but that doesn’t stop them get­ting out there and giv­ing it their all. They have learnt very quickly how to blow out in rucks and kick­ing, so watch out next year.’’

The team is: Kaitlin Aro, Paige Ash­well, Eden Goldswor­thy, Michaela Hard­ing, Car­leyah He­mopo, Lexi-May John­son, Lakeyn Lowry, Andi Muir­head, Rayven Phillips, Alice Rosie, Deonn Spencer, Cholie Tin­dle, Ash­leigh Tu­uma­ialu, Mad­di­son Year­bury and Eden Mika.

ALAN APTED

Karaka Black, an all girls’ first year tackle team are leav­ing boys’ teams in their com­pe­ti­tion red faced.

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