Ruawai’s junior rugby team pose by a world-famous landmark in Sydney as they get set to take on Australian club Beecroft

Time honoured sporting tradition

by Andy Bryenton

The young players of Ruawai’s junior rugby team have enjoyed some international exposure in recent weeks, as they return from a tour to Sydney, Australia.

The sporting exchange, which saw 18 boys and 16 adults take flight across the Tasman to play a three-match series, is now in its 39th year, alternating with Australian friends and rivals Beecroft Rugby Club in the suburbs of Sydney. A chance meeting through a work colleague in the early 1980s started this turn-about system of international games, with the Aussies, set to travel here, to Ruawai, for a historic 40th game in 2020.

Organisers say that this is more than just a chance to test the mettle of the rugby juniors, but also an opportunity to make lifelong friendships. This year’s tour saw dads joining in who had travelled to face the Beecroft 15 when they were young.

This time, they were there to support a new generation. Next year, plans are afoot for these ‘old boys’ to face off again as part of the 40th-anniversary celebration.

The parents, coaches and leadership of the club would like to thank their kind sponsors, and all those who have helped billet visiting Australian lads during the years. This year the Beecroft 15 won the trophy, making the rivalry all the more fierce for 2020’s engagement.