Eleven-year-old Raetea Rongo likes netball – but when she discovered Quick Rip rugby, she fell in love.
“I like how I can run because I’ve got a long endurance, and just getting the ball and going with it,” she says.
“A lot of girls at our school Apii Avarua really like it.”
Apii Arorangi hosted a Rising Stars Quick Rip tournament on July 8 – and that has been the spark to set up a girls’ season.
For the first time, Cook Islands Rugby will be holding a girls-only Quick Rip 7s Muster at the Takuvaine Field, today from 4pm.
There’s been enthusiasm, too, from around the island – especially in Titikaveka. Because so many of the children there are Seventh-day Adventist, the Quick Rip will be played on Wednesday so they can take part.
Rugby development boss Ben Koteka said: “With the girls feeling a bit awkward attending the ‘boys’ club rugby training sessions during the week, it was decided to organise something for the girls only.
He said it was a good opportunity to build their skillset and confidence in playing the game of Quick Rip, which was about enjoyment and development first before competition.
This afternoon’s girls-only muster at Takuvaine Field will have under-9s, 11s, 13s and 15s, plus senior open and masters women too.
“We encourage you to bring your teams (or individuals) at all levels – club, family, work, youth groups – social or serious,” Koteka said.
“Or if you would like to have some fun – then you are most welcome to attend so we can find a team for you! There’s no costs involved.”
Rising Stars Championship's Jackie Rongo saw her daughter Raetea’s enthusiasm for Quick Rip, and that helped inspire her to drive the formation of the new girls competition.
Raetea said she was really excited to play in the Rising Stars Quick Rip in May.
“I was usually the wing,” the 11-year-old said.
“We had good runners with the ball to step and dodge, so we passed it to them. I liked defence, and running with the ball – but also sharing it too.”