Dutch Baa-baas amass big scores

The Northland Age - - Sport - By Peter de Graaf

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.

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