Members of the prestigious Sevens team, fresh off winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, made an appearance at Papamoa’s Tahatai Coast School last Friday to talk shop and spend time with boys and girls eager to upskill in rugby. Team captain Scotty Curry, players Akuila Rokolisoa, Joe Webber, Tone Ng Shui, trainer Mark Harvey, and physio Damian Banks participated in a workshop with selected Tahatai students.

According to Harvey, “We’ve put it in one of our strategic plans this year to get out amongst especially the kids, grow the game, reconnect with the community, inspire young kids, parents or teachers to play rugby, or at least be active. It’s a privilege and honour what we do as jobs, so it’s a way of giving back.”

Various members of the Sevens squad also visited several other schools in the area.

This event, held on a sunny day at the school field, featured both rugby and non-rugby games- think passing drills as well as  Duck,Duck, Goose and all-time favourite Bullrush.

“These guys took time out of a busy schedule to work with a primary school in Papamoa,” says Principal Matt Skilton, “To have these athletes turn up to our school so the students can be face to face and interact positively with them, ask questions and touch the Commonwealth medal, makes the whole learning experience real for the children. These athletes are great role models for them and share values that align well with Tahatai Coast School’s values.”

After the sports-fuelled activities, the players had morning tea with the staff and then took part in a question and answer session in front of the entire school’s students and teachers.

“How many hours a day do you train?” and “What was it like to win the gold medal?” were some of the most popular questions asked. Luckily for the kids, team Captain Scott Curry brought along the highly-coveted medal to show off to a captivated audience. A quick autograph session followed, with players signing arms, hands, even cheeks and foreheads for those children eager to imprint the experience in any way they could.

As Curry explains, “It’s just awesome to be mixing with the kids, and they’re just real enthusiastic. Not long ago we were their age and so we know what it’s like.”

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