Sunday, 07 June 2020


How the community is helping to keep Mercury Bay Junior Rugbys momentum going

How the community is helping to keep Mercury Bay Junior Rugbys momentum going

Mercury Bay Junior Rugby Club launched their season this year with a breakfast last Saturday, 5 April at the Lyons Park rugby field and clubrooms in Whitianga. Milo sponsored the breakfast, which was held for the second year in a row.
The club is in a growth phase with around 25 more players weighing in this year than three years ago. Rippa rugby alone will have 33 young boys and girls playing. According to club president, Dennis Johansen, every junior rugby club’s challenge is to retain players. He and his committee have worked hard to ensure the club provides an environment for players to keep on playing.
“I believe four things are necessary for a junior rugby club to be a healthy club,” said Dennis. “Foremost all decisions have to be about the children. It’s not the place for any adult interests to take centre stage. Another thing is that it’s really important for the kids to play in good gear. If they all wear club colours, they feel they belong. The club must also be well-organised.
Mums and dads need to know when their children are playing, where they are playing and how they’re going to get there. The last thing is that the kids must have fun. Although everyone likes to win, we’re not totally results driven. We’ll never say to a player you’re not good enough to go on the field. You have to be inclusive to be sustainable.”
This season is the first time all players will play in jerseys with the club’s current colours. All players will also receive a club t-shirt and jacket. Players will have to return their jerseys and jackets at the end of the season. The t-shirts are theirs to keep. The new gear wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support from a variety of Mercury Bay businesses and organisations and the Milo breakfast provided an ideal opportunity to thank the sponsors who made it all happen.
PlaceMakers Whitianga sponsored two sets of rippa rugby jerseys, Coast 2 Coast Scaffolding sponsored a set of  9th grade jerseys and Cooks Beach Building Supplies sponsored a set of 5th grade jerseys. Platinum Homes sponsored jackets for the rippa rugby players and Whitianga Waterways, Hot Water Beach Top Ten Holiday Park, Coastal Refrigeration and Whitianga Hotel sponsored the jackets for the older players.
The Mercury Bay Community Trust has also contributed some funding to the new gear.
The club will this season be able to field teams in all the grades, except the seventh grade. “It’s the first time in quite a few years we can play with so many teams,” said Dennis. “We’re hopeful that this is the last year we won’t field a team in every grade. Right at this moment we have a great bunch of happy kids, they all are going to be able to wear their club jerseys with pride and next season we’re going to see all of them and their parents again.”
Eight clubs will participate this season in the Thames Valley Rugby Union’s youth rugby competition. The first games will be played this Saturday, 12 April.


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