It’s a big time for lo­cal rugby league

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

Mana and Bishop Viard col­leges’ rugby league sides will rep­re­sent Porirua in the up­com­ing quar­ter­fi­nals of the Stephen Kear­ney Cup, hop­ing to reach the semi­fi­nals a week later on home turf.

To­mor­row, at the Te Whaea ar­ti­fi­cial turf in New­town, Mana will take on St Pat’s (Welling­ton), while Viard will bat­tle Ron­go­tai for a place in the Cup semi-fi­nals. In the plate sec­tion, Porirua Col­lege play Welling­ton Col­lege at Els­don, while Aotea take on Tawa Col­lege at Tawa.

It will be a big day at Porirua Park on Oc­to­ber 19, with the Ju­nior Kiwi and Kan­ga­roo sides train­ing from 3.30pm, with lo­cal ju­nior play­ers in­vited to take part in the ses­sions.

The semi-fi­nals of the Stephen Kear­ney Cup will fol­low at 6pm and 7.30pm. These matches will likely draw some well-known spec­ta­tors, with Kear­ney him­self and some Kiwi and Great Bri­tain se­nior play­ers at­tend­ing.

Welling­ton Rugby League’s gen­eral man­ager Ja­son Hemson says Benji Mar­shall, Simon Man­ner­ing and Isaac Luke have past ties to this re­gion, so fin­gers are crossed they will be in at­ten­dance.

The Ki­wis and Great Bri­tain play a test match at West­pac Sta­dium on Oc­to­ber 23, so will be train­ing in Welling­ton next week.

‘‘It’s great that we can have the ju­nior sides help­ing out with ses­sions for the young kids – these are play­ers with NRL and Toy­ota Cup ex­pe­ri­ence. And hav­ing the se­nior play­ers come out to see the schools’ semis is what we need to help pro­mote the game,’’ says Hemson.

The Stephen Kear­ney Cup is go­ing from ‘‘strength to strength’’, he says, with two ex­tra teams this sea­son. The com­pe­ti­tion is on at the end of the rugby sea­son, to give col­lege ath­letes the op­por­tu­nity to be ex­posed to league.

‘‘It’s the best de­ci­sion we could make and the boys are re­ally, re­ally en­joy­ing it. We’re al­ways go­ing to be up against it in terms of rugby’s pop­u­lar­ity and re­sources, so we have to be smarter about how we go about things,’’ says Hemson.

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