For the love of grassroots rugby
Easts vs Randwick. Photo via http://www.eastsrugby.com.au/
I love rugby. I’m sure most people here share that same sentiment. My love for the game goes far deeper than just my national team.
Of course, I love to watch my beloved All Blacks, just as people love to watch the Wallabies, Springboks or Wales.
But I want to talk about the grassroots of the game – the local clubs who play week in, week out.
This is where my love for the game truly lies.
With rugby coming out of our ears, I want to know where your loyalties lie?
Is it with your national team, state, province, franchise, club or even school?
For me, my loyalties lie first and foremost with both my local club and the All Blacks.
A little further back I support my franchise (Hurricanes) and province (Wellington), but it’s also hard to split those two.
My love for grassroots rugby stems from my local club Johnsonville, a community club in Wellington built around a working-class suburb.
They play home games at Helston Park (Hell Park for short), a single field built into the side of a hill.
Steep banks surround the field, creating what you might consider a natural stadium.
Johnsonville is a second-division side made up mainly of ex-local high-school players.
They lack a bit of size, but they more than make up for it with speed and fitness, outlasting the usually bigger teams over the 80 minutes.
They have an outstanding number seven, a mobile forward pack and a pretty good backline.
They have a great chance this year to make the premier division in Wellington.
There is nothing quite like going out on a Saturday afternoon to support the Mighty Blue and Blues wherever they might be playing.
I love club rugby and follow the results of most of the grades in Wellington with great interest.
To me this is the most pure form of the game.
For someone who has only really ever known rugby to be professional it’s great to see these guys out there playing for their local club.
So please tell me, where is your local club?
Do you follow them round every Saturday and cheer from the sideline no matter the weather?
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