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Schools rip into rugby gear

Wednesday 1 April 2009 | Published in Regional

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Wednesday 1: All Rarotonga primary schools will rip into rugby soon thanks to the donation of ‘ripper rugby’ gear to all schools presented to school principals by Cook Islands Rugby Union chief executive officer Ben Koteka.

The ripper rugby gear including ripper tags, belts, rugby balls and kicking tees have been provided, courtesy of the Australian Sports Outreach Programme (ASOP).

The grant was made through the ASOP Sports Development Grant via the Australian Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs.

The hand over of the ripper rugby gears was made by Ben Koteka on behalf of ASOP to Avarua Primary School principal and chairman of the primary schools sports association Gelling Jack.

Koteka says getting ripper rugby into the schools will help to improve local health statistics by introducing children and adults to the benefits of fun exercise, improving sports skills and increase knowledge of health and safety.

The new gear will allow all schools to prepare for their annual one-day rugby and netball tournament to be held at the end of term two.

Total sponsorship of this project is valued over $10,000 with key partners Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Cook Islands Sports Academy and the International Rugby Board to deliver the programme.

Ripper rugby is a non-contact sport for both boys and girls.

It involves all players on the field to wear a Velcro belt with two coloured strips on their hips.

The game follows the conventional rugby rules but instead of tackling the ball carrier the defender must ‘rip’ off one of the coloured strips from the ball carrier to stop them moving forward.

The game continues with the play the ball being made where the coloured strip has been ripped off.

It’s a fun way for kids to learn the basics of rugby or any sport for that matter and stay healthy. - Matariki Wilson