Brodee Walker of Makoura College getting a taste of quick rip. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
Not everyone is blessed with the staggering size and blinding speed often needed to play rugby at the highest levels, but a modified version of the game is set to make it more accessible to anybody.
Quick rip is a hybrid between rippa rugby and rugby sevens, and is suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
Wairarapa-Bush’s college rugby administrator Caleb Agnew-Jones and rugby development officer Stacey Grant held a ‘give it a go’ day at Memorial Park on Wednesday.
The session was open to secondary school girls and pupils from Makoura College, Wairarapa College and Solway College got their first taste of the game.
Agnew-Jones said they were looking to get an idea of how many people were keen to try the sport.
“Anyone can play it, but it’s more for the players that don’t necessarily play rugby, or the ones that are a bit smaller and want to give it a go – it’s aimed at those kinds of people.
“It’s fun, fast paced and has good skill development.”
The game is non-contact, and players are required to rip a tag off the attacking player, as is the case in rippa rugby.
But quick rip is more aligned with rugby sevens in that players are allowed to kick the ball, and lineouts and scrums are included.
There are seven players on the field for each team, and in mixed grade at least two female players must be on the field at all times.
Matches are played on a full rugby field unless the game is small blacks quick rip, in which case it is played on half a field.
“It’s got all the same aspects and rules as rugby sevens, but it’s rippa rugby,” Agnew-Jones said.
“It can be played socially and competitively.”
The aim is to have a four-week competition for the girls – starting in a couple of weeks – and then move on to the boys.
At the end of the year it is hoped there will be a chance to get adults involved as well.
“We’ll be doing some work in and out of the schools and see where it goes from there.
“It’s different and a good stepping stone for those who want to play rugby but don’t know where to go.”
Quick rip is an initiative from New Zealand Rugby and has been around for a couple of years.
Other unions have already started implementing it into their structures, but it can often take longer to embed in the smaller unions across the country.
“It’s one of our key performance indicators, which is to increase participation in under-14s in quick rip competition,” Agnew-Jones said.
“Some unions ran competitions last year, but it’s really kicked off everywhere else this year.
“In the bigger provinces they have a ton of players and rugby people to choose out of, so it’s easy to run there.”