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Junior coasties on the rise

Braxton Prentice in action for East Coast. PHOTOS/KJ PHOTOGRAPHIC


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Four years ago you would not have seen a junior rugby team running around at the East Coast Rugby Football Club, but now the JAB programme is thriving.

In that time the programme has gone from nothing to over 40 registered players.

The club’s strength is based around support from parents, families are friends, with many players travelling long distances for practice and matches.

The club has two teams in the under-6 ripper grade, and teams in the under-9 and under-11 grades.

Under-9 manager and JAB co-ordinator Richard Fairbrother said it was a remarkable turnaround for the club.

“The 2018 JAB season is under way and JAB rugby is thriving at East Coast Rugby Football Club with over 40 junior players registered with the club.

“A feature of the club is the great support the players receive from parents, family and friends, and the club is also supported by a wonderful group of sponsors who help to ensure that JAB rugby is able to be funded and developed at the coast.”

Jane Shelton on the charge for East Coast.

JAB programmes provide a foundation for players to represent the club at higher levels in the future.

It is hoped these players may go on to represent the club’s senior teams at some stage in their careers.

Not everyone will go down that path, however, and for some it is simply a chance to run around with friends in a sporting environment.

“This year we have entered two under-6 ripper teams – coached by Hayden Meads and Chris Liddle – and these young players are having lots of fun in their Saturday morning games based at the Pioneer grounds, with some great skills being developed,” Fairbrother said.

“The under-9 tackle team is coached by Rob O’Neale and managed by myself, and has had a good start to the season, playing their games each week at Marist with some great rugby being played by the team.”

The under-11 side is a combined team with Eketahuna, and has transitioned well to 15-a-side rugby.

“Playing a home game back at the coast was a highlight,” Fairbrother said.

“The club is looking forward to another successful season with our junior coasties.”

Fairbrother was awarded the Junior Administrator of the Year award at last year’s Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Awards for his work in the East Coast programme, and was a finalist at last night’s Times-Age Sports Awards in the Volunteer of the Year category.

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