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Womens’ rugby on the rise


The continued success of New Zealand’s Black Ferns has raised the national profile of womens’ rugby, and the steady growth of the game has seen female teams popping up all over Auckland. Women continue to break barriers in the sport, inspiring participants of all ages to get involved.

Rugby coaches, Malo Mauga and Frankie Schaumkel, have mentored a number of thriving local teams, including a first-ever open women’s 10s squad for the Grammar TEC Rugby Club, based at Cornwall Park. Players travel from Onehunga, Mangere Bridge, and other suburbs to train. What started as 11 registrations quickly grew to 34 through word of mouth.

With seven years experience under her belt, the team’s co-captain and manager, Tidah Leaupepe, wanted to utilise her expertise at a club new to the women’s rugby movement. Tidah’s vision for the future is to develop high quality coaches, and to grow the game for women through every grade - from juniors to premiers. 

With a wide range of sporting backgrounds and levels of abilities, the team has bonded through their shared love of rugby. Although newly-formed, they advanced right through to the semi-finals after defeating Mt Wellington 58 -14 in the quarters. 

Mangere Bridge resident and player, Holly Wade, was invited by friends to join the new squad. As a senior player, she offered guidance to the younger rookies to help build their confidence levels. Holly says she is grateful for the close-knit unit and positive culture at Grammar TEC, and is proud of their progression through the season. “Communication is key. And having good encouragement and strong support from the coaching staff and club definitely made the difference” she said. 

After bowing out to Waitakere in the semi-finals, the ladies look forward to returning as top contenders in 2019. They would like to thank their supporters and sponsors from the Frenchies senior team, coaches Malo and Frankie, co-manager Mike Webber, director of rugby Daniel King, and the Grammar TEC Rugby Club.







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