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Nauru sevens beach rugby

Wed, 29/09/2021, 4:31 am
Oceania Rugby
by Oceania Rugby
Participants from the September Nauru Sevens Beach Rugby festival
Participants from the September Nauru Sevens Beach Rugby festival

Nauru's main football oval is not conducive to soft landings.

It's limestone-hard surface has claimed plenty of bark over the years

Option number two is a makeshift ground where rubber mats have to be placed over rocks in the in-goals to safeguard players.

So, in a bid to make rugby more inviting for beginners, a women's beach rugby 7s festival was held on the much more forgiving sands at nearby Centennial Beach in Aiwo.

Operations manager Johnny Caginilotu explained: "Ninety per cent of the women who turned out were first-time players.

"The main purpose was to introduction them to the game in a familiar, safe and fun environment.

"Playing on the beach gives them the chance to learn the skills on a soft surface before they move onto the pitch."

Fifty-three players turned up, with only four having played rugby before. 

In addition, 15 participants from the Nauru Rugby Women Player Development Pathway Program took part and it's hoped many of these players will graduate into High Performance Program planned to kick off in early 2022.

Beach rugby is all about sowing the rugby seeds and opening females eyes to the benefits

The fitness and strength base is already there through the country's long-time love affair with powerlifting.

"Nauru women love to train and with the expertise of our rugby coaches in the field of strength and conditioning, we hope to attract more women into this program by recruiting and putting them in a periodised training blocks for three to four months," Caginilotu said.

"Rugby is incorporated into this training as a slow and progressive introduction to the sport.

"They competed in our last beach rugby event and they progressed to playing some rugby 7s on a pitch.

"These training blocks mainly focus on athletic development and a lot of body movement literacy, educating them on the principles of training.

"We have identified around 15 players who we think have the attributes to be channelled into our High Performance Program."

Beach rugby has proved so popular – and such a great starting point for aspiring players – there are plans to turn it into a regular club competition featuring women's teams from each district.

Caginilotu said: "This is to get the ladies engaged in a fun and competitive environment.

"We're also planning on having competition for their kids, as most are single mothers, and also for older women who are not into contact sport who can play either tag beach rugby or rugby modified games.

"We are aiming to have all the district's women's teams coached by women and managed by women. Coaches will be monitored and this competition will be their practical. 

"This soft introduction in a fun and competitive environment will ensure we get an increase in women participation in the sport of rugby."

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