Piri Weepu picks up Nelson Bird from the East Coast Rippa team. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

 

BY EMILY NORMAN

The Junior All Blacks rugby season has now ended, but the memories of mingling with former All Black Piri Weepu remains strong in the minds of young East Coast players.

East Coast Rugby Football Club secretary KJ Liddle recalled the smiles that were brought to the faces of the Junior All Blacks players as they played shoulder-to-shoulder with the Wairarapa Bush team at Riversdale Beach early in August.

“They were really aware that they were playing rugby with a former All Black, and as parents watching, it gave you goose bumps,” she said.

“The Wairarapa-Bush team really got involved. They actually made it fantastic.”

The Wairarapa-Bush side had gone out to the coastal Wairarapa towns as a training exercise.

As well as teaching the young rugby players a thing or two, the Wairarapa Bush team ran up to the Anzac Cross at Tinui, and trained with the Riversdale Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

 

Not many kids can say they played rugby with a former All Black. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

Not many kids can say they played rugby with a former All Black. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

East Coast Junior All Blacks showed their respect for the Wairarapa-Bush team with a haka. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

East Coast Junior All Blacks showed their respect for the Wairarapa-Bush team with a haka. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

Players stretch before the face-off. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

Players stretch before the face-off. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

The young ones taught Wairarapa-Bush players a thing or two about rugby. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

The young ones taught Wairarapa-Bush players a thing or two about rugby. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

It was a sea of red and green playing rugby at Riversdale Beach. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE

It was a sea of red and green playing rugby at Riversdale Beach. PHOTO/KJ LIDDLE