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Women’s rugby gains momentum

Friday 2 December 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Rugby Union, Sports

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Women’s rugby gains momentum
Black Ferns Krystal Murray and Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate with female rugby enthusiasts after their ‘train and play’ game last week. 22112801.

Exposing more women and girls to rugby and hopefully inspire them to take up the sport was one of the drives for the ‘train and play’ rugby game held last week.

Black Ferns Krystal Murray and Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Cook Islands Rugby Union, Evolutions Sports Rarotonga and the national women’s Under 18 coach Harriet Tuara coordinated the programme.

It was hailed a success due to the number of women who attended the programme held at Nukupure Park in Ngatangiia on Friday.

While on holiday, the Black Ferns also visited several schools on the island to inspire the young ones to take up the sport.

Ngata-Aerengamate said the programme “wasn’t too technical, we didn’t teach anyone anything other than catch n pass and the main goal was to let them play, play rugby and have some fun”.

“We heard some girls didn’t want to do it at first but ended up enjoying themselves.”

National women’s U18 coach Tuara recently returned from the Grassroots to Global Rugby Forum and International Women’s Rugby Forum. She also spent time with the Black Ferns.

“I feel privileged that they have given up a lot of their time to give back to our community sharing their knowledge with our ladies and girls in the schools, especially on the back of winning the Women’s Rugby World Cup,” said Tuara.

“The highlight has been able to connect Krystal and Tekura with our ladies here on the island.”

Tuara first met Ngata-Aerengamate in October during the Cook Islands U18s Women’s Development tour in New Zealand.

“She was one of my coaching mentors there and was keen to help us in any way to grow women’s rugby back home.”

From there the women collaborated on an itinerary that would see the Black Ferns run clinics in schools and host an open day training session

Evolution Sports Rarotonga’s Andrew Iroa said it was great having the Black Ferns on the island.

“Especially for us trying to grow women in sport,” said Iroa. “We need to train a training squad of girls to bring them through Evo so that we can prepare them, so when they go to tournaments like the Pacific Games next year, they are ready.”

President of Cook Islands Rugby Union, Simiona Teiotu said it has been awesome to see the Black Ferns promoting the sport to local girls and women.

“Especially in women’s rugby, Oceania and World Rugby are investing a lot,” said Teiotu.

“I can see women’s rugby growing, domestically at the grassroots, and the school programmes will boost more to play rugby.”

Discussions have been taking place between Evolution Sports Rarotonga and CIRU on future training programmes for girls and women.