Tagged to do best to beat the Aussies
Players may not get to ‘‘smash’’ each other as much as they like, but tag rugby is on the up in Porirua, with a group of local boys representing New Zealand in a trans-tasman championship next month.
Five Porirua college students will travel to Auckland on April 4 to represent New Zealand alongside 11 other players chosen as the cream of the crop in their under-18 division. They will play five games against Australia over four days in what Bishop Viard student Jayden Luapo, 17, describes as ‘‘a little State of Origin’’.
The boys were selected while representing Wellington at a twoday national tournament in Auckland in mid-february. Wellington came third, winning all but two games.
Porirua boys making the national team were Raysharn Edmonds-lama, Paie Ngaroi, Renouf To’omaga, Paul Ulberg and Luapo.
The five are the only representatives from the Wellington region on the New Zealand team, a fact owing to the game’s popularity in Porirua, according to the boys.
‘‘Flag’s not a big thing in town,’’ Raysharn Edmonds- Lama, 16, says.
Despite attending different high schools, the players know each other well from years playing in a league based in Titahi Bay, and are from opposing teams Risk and Starz.
They are looking for sponsorship to be able to attend the tournament, and estimate they will need between $3000 and $4000 for accommodation and travel to the event.
The boys use ‘‘flag’’ rugby as a way to keep up their touch rugby training during the summer season.
It’s fun, but would be better if players could smash each other as in the full-contact touch, Luapo says.
To sponsor the team contact parent Emma Akavi on 235 8707.
Flagged for bigger things: Five Porirua tag rugby players have been chosen to represent New Zealand in a four-day battle against Australia in April. From left, Raysharn Edmonds-lama, Paie Ngaroi, Jayden Luapo, Renouf To’omaga and Paul Ulberg.