Dutch Baa-baas amass big scores
A Northland-based rugby sevens team made up of Kiwi girls with Dutch connections have been racking up some hefty scores as their European tour gets under way in the UK.
However, the girls will face their first real test this weekend when they compete in an international under-18s tournament in Amsterdam.
Bay of Islands man Harko Brown, who founded the NZ Dutch Barbarians along with his daughters Yves, 16, and Billie, 15, said the team had racked up “blowout scores” of 60-0 and 40-0 in their first games in London against Cobham Rugby Club earlier this week.
For the third match some of the Kiwi girls donned Cobham jerseys but the visitors still won 32-0. Brown said the warm-up games in London were “good friendlies with great hosting, meals and speeches”.
The NZ Dutch Barbarians had “good speed out wide and some powerful runners up the middle”, Brown said. Last Wednesday the girls took a train to Amsterdam, to compete in a sevens tournament against the Dutch and Swedish national U18 sides as well as current Dutch club champions Amstelveen.
Saturday’s games took place at the Amstelveense Rugby Club grounds, just south of Amsterdam, while Sunday’s finals were held at the National Rugby Centre in the city’s west.
Results from day one of the event saw the Barbarians beat Sweden 48-0 and 42-5, and Nemos 33-7. The side’s results from day two were yet to be confirmed at edition time. Tomorrow, the girls head to France for a series of games against Paris school teams.
The European tour was a teambuilder for the World School Sevens in Auckland in mid-December. There the NZ Dutch Barbarians would meet three other Kiwi teams with overseas heritage (Samoa, Fiji and Tonga) as well as U18 national reps from New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Canada.
The girls in the NZ Dutch Barbarians all have family connections to the Netherlands. Some are of Dutch descent while others have, for example, Dutch stepparents.
Brown, who is well-known as a promoter of traditional Ma¯ori sports, said the tour had its genesis when his Netherlands-born mother, Anita Brown (nee Mulder), challenged him to celebrate his Dutch descent as well as his Ma¯ori heritage.
His daughters came up with the concept for the NZ Dutch Sevens team as an 80th birthday present for their oma (grandmother). They were, however, unable to go on the tour.
With the Browns staying behind in New Zealand, Moerewa’s Jo Littin and Craig Miller of Timaru are managing the tour. Seven of the team’s 11 members, as well as coach Bodean Rogers of Kaikohe, hail from Northland. The team is captained by Phoenix Litton of Kawakawa with Natalie Lowe of Auckland as vice-captain.