Trying times for youngsters

Polishing skills: Mason Bonn, in front, and from left, Tama Dix, Thomas Hulsman, Spencer Wilkins, Grace Hastie, Matt Attenborough and Casey Brown PICTURE: BLAIR PATTINSON

Queenstown youngsters are gearing up for a massive rugger comp.

More than 1000 kids from around New Zealand and Australia will compete in the South Island leg of the NZ Junior Rugby Festival in Queenstown this weekend.

Steve McIsaac, who co-coaches the Wakatipu under-11 Junior rugby team, reckons his young charges will do the region proud. A win would be a bonus, he says.

“The kids are using sport as a medium to expand their social skills. It is really good in that regard.

“A lot of kids in a lot of sports never get that exposure – because you are usually in a representative team to go to a tournament like this.”

They finished in the top eight during the first comp in Taupo recently – a real confidence-booster.

All 22 Wakatipu players, including McIsaac’s boys Connor, 11, and Xavier, 10, get time on the field.

Tournament organiser Tyrone Campbell, of Global Games, says the focus is on experience. Our events are 90 per cent for kids who don’t have the opportunity to play at representative level.

“It is an opportunity to play against those with different abilities.

“Sport aside, it is great individual development for these kids.”

New Zealand Junior Rugby Festival, Saturday 9.30am kick-off, Sunday 9am kick-off, Queenstown Events Centre