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Bright future for women’s rugby

Wairarapa Women’s Rugby in action. PHOTOS/REBECCA KEMPTON

Emily Ireland

When it comes to women’s rugby, there’s not much of it in Wairarapa.

But Monique Kloeg and Angela Moylan of Wairarapa Women’s Rugby are hoping all that will change.

They are in the process of starting a women’s rugby competition, similar to what is available for men – so that players will no longer need to travel outside the region to get game time.

“We want to create a bit more awareness of women’s rugby first,” Monique said.

“We played a game between Carterton and Featherston a couple of weeks ago, but there haven’t been any further games organised, so at the moment, we have to go over to Manawatu to play just to get game time until we can develop more players and awareness for a regular competition.”

She said with the Black Ferns becoming professional last year, there was now the aspiration for young women around the country to become a paid rugby player.

Angela said along with the obvious benefit of fitness, playing rugby offered women camaraderie, “banter”, confidence, and a deep connection with teammates – one that couldn’t be matched by other team sports, she said.

“I think there’s a bit of a stigma when it comes to women’s rugby because when you think of rugby, it’s quite physical and it is a contact sport.

“But I’ve had more injuries in netball than rugby – with rugby, you’re landing on grass as opposed to a much harder surface.”

Carterton and Featherston offer women’s rugby and the Wairarapa Women’s Rugby group has a strong foundation membership of about 20 women.

It is thought that these existing players could be dispersed around Wairarapa’s other rugby clubs to kickstart an interclub women’s rugby competition.

“Our end goal is a women’s rugby competition played in Wairarapa so we don’t have to travel outside the region,” Angela said.

“We need committed people.

“We train every Monday from 6pm until 8pm at Carterton and everyone is welcome to come to that.

“Now, we are trying to get game time so that we aren’t just training for the sake of training – so that we have a purpose.”

Monique and Angela have presented their idea for a women’s rugby competition to the Council of Clubs Committee consisting of representatives from rugby clubs around the region.

“The barriers we face is that there’s not a local competition,” Angela said.

“If we play, we have to play out of the region.

“If we travel to Manawatu, play a game, wash up, it’s like a six-hour round trip for a game – and that’s not viable for a lot of women because they are mums or they have partners in sport.

“Every existing club has the potential to get this going.”

Wairarapa Women’s Rugby will be playing at Massey University on June 8 at 1pm.

It will be a tri-series match – they will be playing two teams for 40 minutes each.

“We currently still need a few more players to fill our team.

“This will be an all-expense-paid trip, so if you want to play, now is the time.”

If you would like to get involved, contact Wairarapa Women’s Rugby on Facebook.

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