Rippa Rugby stars prepare for National Championship

Getty Images     12 Sep 2012     Getty Images

The teams of Year Five and Six primary schools boys and girls, who will be representing their local province, have qualified from provincial qualifying tournaments involving 600 teams nationwide.

The provincial tournament is the follow-up to last year's successful Rippa World Cup, held as part of the Real New Zealand Festival.

NZRU General Manager Community and Provincial Union Rugby Brent Anderson said the national tournament recognised the increasing popularity of Rippa Rugby and provided children with an incredible goal to aim for.

"The popularity of Rippa Rugby has grown year on year since being introduced, with 78,500 kids registered to play in 2012 - 14 per cent more than the previous year.

"This tournament is a once in a lifetime experience for 200 New Zealand kids to participate in their very own Provincial Championship, alongside the ITM Cup and Heartland Championship, while also making a raft of new friendships and having heaps of fun.

"And thanks to the great support of New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) we can cover the costs of travel, accommodation, uniforms and provide some very cool goody bags."
Mike Knell, NZCT CEO, says the trust is pleased to be involved in The Rippa Rugby Championship 2012.

"NZCT is one of the largest funders of amateur sport in New Zealand," says Mr Knell. "We help keep sport affordable and accessible for thousands of Kiwis - and we're particularly keen on events like this tournament, which generate interest and enthusiasm for rugby at a grassroots level."

Teams will play in four pools, then quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze-final and final (similar to Rugby World Cup format).

Whau Valley Primary School from Whangarei won the Rippa World Cup 2011 representing New Zealand, while five teams from the Rippa World Cup have qualified for The Rippa Rugby Championship 2012 (Lepperton (Taranaki), Arrowtown (Otago), Roscommon (Counties Manukau), Riverdale (Manawatu) and Richmond (Tasman.

Rippa Rugby finalists will arrive in Wellington on Sunday 16 September and be met at the airport by popular children's rugby education character Rugger.

Rippa Rugby is a popular, safe, non-contact form of rugby aimed at primary school aged children where instead of tackling, players rip velcro-fastened tags off each other's waists.

Provincial Union - Representing School

Auckland - Holy Cross Catholic School Papatoetoe
Bay of Plenty - Selwyn Primary School
Buller - St Canice's School
Canterbury - Paparoa Street School
Counties Manukau - Roscommon School
Poverty Bay - Mangapapa School
Hawke's Bay - Tiaho Primary School
Horowhenua-Kapiti - Levin East School
Thames Valley - Waihi East Primary School
Manawatu - Riverdale School
North Otago - Fenwick Primary School
North Harbour - Browns Bay School
Northland - Wellsford School
Otago - Arrowtown School
Southland - Limehills School
Taranaki - Lepperton School
Tasman - Richmond Primary School
Waikato - Strathmore Primary School
Wanganui - St Johns Hill School
Wellington - Ngaio School