U14 Rugby team Report:
After our first two warm up games against Christchurch Boys High and Shirley Boys High, we expected stepping up to section one to be a challenge. We were fortunate to have 26 boys turn up to both trial games, providing the coaches with the ability to make adjustments and build a strong U14 team. The season started with a hiss and a roar, playing challenging games against the top teams in Canterbury. Three weeks into the competition, we were yet to have a win but had certainly shown progress and promise. A key element to our forward pack was the strength and power from the front row consisting of Jack Taylor, Liam Hattrill and Epati Hohaia-Tolovaa. Elisara Vaifale and Cormack Tarrant were dynamite in the backline with their speed and ability to make gaps open up out of nothing. Our skipper Sulimoni Maka led by example and was influential when put either in the forwards or backs. Each week the team improved as we worked on the little things with ambitions that bigger things would follow.
Credit goes to our communication database, Mr. Logan McMullen would distributed ongoing emails and texts to keep parents and caregivers frequently up to date. The team fought through a hard season with eight wins, five losses and one draw. The group of boys defeated a strong Boys High team to win the Challenge Shield and continue to hold on to it for a consectutive 7 weeks, putting it up for grabs week after week. The hardest job the coaches had to experience this year was picking the team each week. We had 24 boys at each training wanting to improve and wanting to develop training after training, week after week. This attitude fostered success and hard work, resulting in the team making it to the section one final against Shirley Boys. We were unfortunate to go down to Shirley Boys 10-12 but, this indicated the amount of skill and ability in the junior grades and the commitment and leadership displayed from each boy in the team. A highlight for the season was experienced in the U14 section one final. This was by far the best game of rugby the team had played, with all players stepping up individually and doing their part for the team. It was a privilege for Andre and I to coach the team and I look forward to seeing the development and progress from the team next year.
One message I leave the young men in the U14 rugby team this year is “Do not wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them.” Bring on the season of 2016!
By Dean Smith and Andre Renata (U14 Rugby Coaches)