Pep talks and power pole lifts pay off
A newly-formed Kapiti College women’s rugby side have ended the season unbeaten, fuelled in part by an overnight teambuilding exercise at the school’s marae.
The school’s under-15 side went undefeated through the Horowhenua-Kapiti women’s under-15 competition.
The 25-minute a half, 10-a-side tournament was their first season of competitive tackle rugby for several players.
The team scored 398 points and conceded 105 in eight games across the pre-season and regular season.
They beat a combined Otaki team 26-10 in the final recently, their closest game of the year.
Nine of the side were selected in the H-K under-15 women’s team.
After a mixed start in the region’s sevens tournament in March, the team gathered at the marae.
Team-building exercises included a 5am start, carrying a power pole from the marae to the beach, and other exercises including flag sprints when they got there.
‘‘It allowed us to see them in an environment where they weren’t playing sport,’’ coach Michael Stokes said.
‘‘It was great to see them working together, the organising.’’
New Zealand women’s sevens representative Tayla Reti and current Kapiti College students Kiki Tahere and Grace Stewart, both up-and-coming rugby players, spoke to them at the marae.
‘‘For our girls to see that, it really opened their eyes,’’ Stokes said.
The team’s superior fitness was a big asset – many of the squad also play football, netball or hockey.
‘‘We’re not a big team, but we’re very mobile,’’ Stokes said.
‘‘We play smart rugby, not contact rugby.’’
It is the first year Kapiti Col- lege has fielded an under-15 women’s team.
Kapiti College looks set to field a women’s first XV next season for the first time in four years, and the team would play in the Wellington competition.
Eight of Stokes’ team are eligible to stay at under-15 level, while eight are eligible to move up a grade.
Stokes said his team would remain in the H-K competition, which also features Paraparaumu College and Manawatu College.
‘‘We work to put back into the Horowhenua-Kapiti community ... so many teams and players go into Wellington because of the stronger competition.
‘‘If you grow your players locally, you strengthen the area.’’
Stokes said he hoped the competition could be expanded next season.
Tia Brown of Kapiti College’s under-15 side is chased by an Otaki defender. Above, Tee Huaki is hit in a tackle.