Union gala days

THE Australian Rugby Union will be running two gala days in Taree this week, showcasing both primary and secondary schools competing in seven-a-side tournament.

Spokesperson, and organiser of these events, Graham Sonter, said this format of the game allows greater flexibility in selecting teams and opens the game up to a lot more people than would normally be available for the full 15 a-side fixture

"We are seeing a lot more girls participating in this variation of the game as the skills required are based more on catch and pass and avoidance of contact rather than full on tackle, ruck and mauls,'' Sonter said.

Both men and women's rugby sevens are now Olympic sports and this can open up pathways for talented young players that they may not have thought of previously.

On Thursday at St Joseph's Primary School, Taree, a record 16 teams will compete in the primary school sevens. Teams will be competing in division one and two boys, mixed boys and girls and three all girls teams. Schools will be from round the Taree local area as well as Gloucester, Bulahdelah. Harrington will combine with a number of small schools and field teams in all divisions.

The secondary school sevens will be run on Friday with Taree Christian College hosting the day. This competition has grown in popularity over the last few years and now sees teams from Camden Haven High and Wauchope High along with Bulahdelah Central, Gloucester High, both campuses of Great Lakes College and local Taree secondary schools keen to be involved. The games are broken down into 14 boys, 16 boys and 16 girls, and there will be 17 teams competing. Both days will be great exposure for the game of rugby in the area, and Sonter encourages local clubs to attend the venues and offer their support to the schools and participants competing on the day.

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