Raglan Rugby seniors rising to the challenge

A recent win against Frankton on home turf has put Raglan Rugby back on the map.

After two years struggle to field a senior team, Raglan Rugby is tackling this season with a full complement of players determined to continue with the wins.

Assistant coach and player Jason Waitere says the team are looking forward to the season ahead and hope the community will get behind the boys as they fight their way out of second division.

And the club has got big boots to fill, having won the first division two years in a row several years ago.

Jason knows the players are in good hands having convinced top coach Noel Barber, who coached the seniors five years ago, to come back into the Raglan fold.

“He’s local and the boys really respect him,” Jason says.

The club has always struggled with the loss of young players to Hamilton teams and the lack of opportunities locally for young players not quite in the weight range of the seniors.

Jason wants to connect with grassroots rugby in the area and says providing local opportunities for young players is vital to building a strong senior team.

He says the long-term goal is to get together an under-18 or under-85kg team to cater for young local players keen to carry on playing once they’ve left school.

“They’re leaving school, not playing for a few years and it’s hard for them to get back into the game again.”

Having coached Raglan Area School’s first XV last year, Jason knows there is good talent coming through the ranks, including his own son, and says its just a matter of providing opportunities for the club and the schools to work together.

The seniors competed in their first major competition recently, winning two games and losing one in the 10-a-side tournament in Kereone.

The team hope locals will support them at the three home games they will play this season and Jason wants to talk to businesses or individuals interested in providing sponsorship – contact Jason on 027 925 2002.

Janine Jackson

Head to the Raglan Rugby Club grounds, corner Cross St and Park Dr for the home game against Old Boys on Saturday, April 14 at 1pm.