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Paeroa College and Waihi College face off in the 1st XV draw.

Thames Valley Rugby Union’s $16k helping hand to encourage school sport post Covid-19

Eight secondary school rugby squads throughout the Thames Valley are richer in both money and experience as competition returns post-Covid-19.

Before kicking off the Thames Valley Rugby Union’s secondary schools 10s tournament at the Paeroa Domain on Saturday, the union announced the gifting of $2,000 to each school, to mitigate any Covid-19 stress and allow teams to focus on getting back on the field.

“It’s so difficult these days to support our secondary schools because it’s been so disruptive,” TVRFU board deputy chairman Ross Cooper said.

“As a board, we decided to make this offer so that the schools can put it into their rugby programme, or help any disadvantaged children with gear. It’s a way that we can show support to the schools, because without them, we don’t have rugby going.”

The board has also covered all club and secondary school affiliation fees in 2020, which usually generates an income of around $12,000.

The 10s tournament was the first of its kind and brought together three grades: First XV Boys, Under 15 Boys, and Secondary School Girls.

It follows a $20,000 total payment from the union, spread evenly to all clubs throughout the region, earlier this year.

The secondary school’s 10’s tournament attracted Hauraki Plains College, Paeroa College, Mercury Bay Area School, Te Aroha College, Thames High School, Waihī College, Katikati College, and Whangamatā Area School, with visiting schools Forest View High School in Tokoroa and Morrinsville College also participating.

The tournament marked the start of the season, earlier interrupted by Covid-19.

“The biggest thing that we’ve seen is that there is an enthusiasm that has come back because of the gap, Cooper said.

“Club rugby and school rugby is on the rise, and enthusiasm as a union is really important.

“This is a great way to start the season.”

Board chairman Grant Dickey said the tournament was the first of its kind and brought together three grades: First XV Boys, Under 15 Boys, and Secondary School Girls.

“Out of the tragedy of Covid, something positive has come out of it and this could be an event that, if it works, we will pursue.”

Results:

1st XV Boys Final: Katikati College beat Paeroa College 24-7

1st XV Girls Final: Mercury Bay Area School beat Whangamatā Area School 22-17

U15 Boys Final: Waihī College beat Mercury Bay Area School Blue 29-7