Students from New Zealand’s southernmost school in Oban, Stewart Island (Rakiura) had a special visit from the women’s Rugby World Cup trophy on Tuesday (10th May) as part of the official Trophy Tour.
Half Moon Bay School students from years 1 to 8 took part in Rippa Rugby games and fun activities led by Rugby Southland Rugby Development Officer and former Otago Spirit player Georgia Mason and Otago Spirit teammate Oceana Campbell – New Zealand’s very own Mastercard Youth Unstoppable women’s rugby ambassador.
Oceana, 18, has been selected by World Rugby as one of 17 inspirational young female rugby leaders from 14 countries around the world, to serve as a youth rugby ambassador in the lead up to and during Rugby World Cup 2021 (playing in 2022). It was Oceana’s second time on the island, but her first as a Mastercard Youth Unstoppable, she said and an opportunity to share her passion for rugby with kids who aren’t otherwise exposed to the sport.
“Being from a small place and being kind of isolated here, it can't be easy for kids to be exposed to rugby. But New Zealand is like a big community, and rugby is definitely a sport that brings everyone together. It’s really amazing the rugby world allows us to come down here and let the kids on the smallest island be involved. It is a really good opportunity.”
School students had their photo taken with the trophy, spoke with TVNZ Seven Sharp reporter Jendy Harper and had a surprise visit from Alice, one of the four Ruggerbees from Small Blacks TV.
Since April the Trophy Tour has been travelling the length of Aotearoa New Zealand to reach fans and offer them the chance to see the silverware up close, take part in fun rugby activities, learn about the women’s game and meet women’s rugby stars of the past, present and future.
The Trophy Tour journey spans six months to September and over 2,000 kilometres, not including a detour across the South Pacific to Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands, as part of Rugby World Cup 2021’s Championing Oceania programme to grow and support women and girls’ rugby in the islands.
The calendar has been developed in consultation with New Zealand’s Provincial Rugby Unions and aims to support rugby events involving schools and clubs in each region. The tour will conclude just as gates open to fans across the three host stadiums in Auckland and Whangārei - Eden Park, Waitākere Stadium and Northland Events Centre.
Visit Rugby World Cup 2021 for tournament information and to purchase tickets