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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Report

Hawaii Rugby had a great 2009 and is poised for another great year in 2010. I have got to make time to get out to more games this year. Here's what I received in my inbox today:

In February 2009 USA Rugby President, Nigel Melville visited Hawaii, followed by Matt Sherman, current Rugby Head Coach at San Diego State University and Back Line Coach for the Eagles. Nigel Melville, was impressed with 4 Hawaii Youth Rugby players and had them sent to the mainland to try out for the USA U19 team. All 4 players made the team. Lopaka Morris has continued to play for the USA U18 team including in the summer against England.

Hawaii's first U19 team to play in the Nationals in late May placed 4th in the tournament. Hawaii's select side consisted of players from the Big Island, Maui and Oahu, and Salesi Lino who played in one game (due to injury) was impressive enough to make the first tournament team. Hawaii now has an automatic slot in the Nationals.

During Spring break 2009, GW Graham Secondary School from Canada, was the first out of state team to participate in the Annual Hawaii Youth Rugby Invitational. UH Youth Rugby Club won the U19's and the Big Island Select took the U17's. The 2010 tournament (3/15 to 3/17 SEVENS,.... 3/18 to 3/20 FIFTHTEENS ) has 3 teams from Canada (already with tickets) and 1 from California already committed.

Early May 2009, HYR State Championship was played on Oahu and the Kahuku Red Raiders won the U19's, the Waimea Boars the U16's and the Kona Bulls the exciting U13's. The Kona Bulls is one of the new HYR teams on the Big Island that has all 3 age categories covered from U13s to U19's.

In mid December, Frank Merrill and the Pacific Coast Grizzly's U17's select side did a 3 island tour of the Hawaiian Island where they were victorious in all 3 matches. This tour has been a catalyst to Maui who now has 3 youth club sides. A tournament in Hawaii as early as this December between a Hawaii All Star team, 2 Canadian All Star teams and the the Pacific Coast Grizzlys to be played on all 3 islands.

April 13th 2010, Napier High School from NZ is playing a Hawaii team on Oahu, is another test of our local talent.

The University of Utah Rugby team has a $9,000 scholarship specifically for a Hawaii rugby player for 2010. This is hopefully the beginning of the deluge of academic/athletic opportunities.
Hawaii Youth Rugby has made some giant leaps this past year and there is no turning back. There are so many people responsible for this achievement. It starts from the parents, players, coaches, supporters, sponsors, league organizers and tournaments all the way to the President of USA Rugby, Nigel Melville.

And the adults:

Rugby Hawaii Union is ready for the next chapter which is to join USA Rugby for the first time.

2009 was a historic year also for adult/senior rugby because we had 4 Woman's (Aliamanu Blues, Laie Park Rookies, Windward Tehines, and the Lady Raiders) teams in the league for the first time in Hawaii. The championship for the Woman's Division was won by the Laie Park Rookies.

The Men's Division Champions saw a repeat from 2008, the Islanders RFC. The Islanders were also successful on their Summer tour to the Sevens Tournament in Arizona where they successfully battled a 15 team competition to an unblemished record and championship.

Later in the Summer, rugby was a participating sport in the Aloha State Games.

October 9/10th during the Fiji Day Festivities we had a 7's tournament and also a coaches and referees clinic conducted by USA Rugby. A lot of rugby knowledge and the Rookie Rugby was shared in those days plus the Aloha/Bula spirit.

Several players from our union are having opportunities to try out for the Eagles and there will more in the future. The door will also open for countless other opportunities that will advance our local players.

There you have it. Great stuff, due to the hard work and dedication of a lot of people. I don't understand the name change of the Union, but don't let that distract you from the wonderful state of Hawaii Rugby.

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