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Learning curve . A group of players work on their passing at a rugby have-a-go day for girls, organised by the North Otago Rugby Football Union. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Girls’ and women’s rugby is growing in North Otago, and those involved with the game are keen to see that trend continue.

More than a dozen girls took part in a girls-only have-a-go day at St Kevin’s College on Tuesday, when they were taught the basics of the game by Black Ferns representative Kendra Cocksedge and members of the North Otago women’s team.

Key skills such as passing, decision-making and tackle technique were all covered at the session, which was organised by the North Otago Rugby Football Union and held alongside a girls rugby festival.

Women’s development officer Patsy Ford, who represents the North Otago women’s team, said the session was an ideal way to get more girls actively involved in the sport.

“It’s important, especially, to have a girls-only day so the girls know and recognise rugby is for us too. They don’t have the intimidation of being around boys, and they can give it a go.

“Hopefully, they fall in love with rugby and they will want to stay, and we can start a girls-only competition.”

Ford, who hails from Ohio, in the United States, is one of many from the country who have played in North Otago over the last few years.

She said women’s rugby had grown in recent times.

“It has, for sure. The women’s team is doing really well in their competition so far, so that’s something for these girls to look up to and look forward to.”

Meanwhile, the girls rugby festival attracted seven teams from around the South Island, including a North Otago side made up of players from St Kevin’s and Waitaki Girls’ High School.

North Otago was competitive on the opening day but lost all four of its games, to St Hilda’s College (19-0), Eastern Southland (26-12), Waimea College (7-5) and Forward Foundation (33-0).