Meet the newly crowned Rippa Rugby Champions of New Zealand. Holy Cross School beat defending champs Roscommon from Clendon 25-15 in the all-South Auckland grand final at the two-day national tournament in Wellington. More than 200 year 5 and 6 boys and girls from 20 schools across New Zealand took part. Holy Cross, the Auckland champions, and Roscommon School, the Counties Manukau winners, knocked over the top teams from 18 other provinces on the way to the final. But Holy Cross was the form team on the day, cruising to a 45-25 win over Opotiki School in the semifinal.
Roscommon had a tougher run to the playoffs and was taken to extra time in the quarterfinals and again in the semifinal against Arrowtown School. Holy Cross from Papatoetoe had a tremendous season, winning every game but one against Taranaki in pool play. “That was a wake-up call for us. Their heads were down and they were really disappointed,” coach Brian Ofamo’oni says. “We talked it over the night before and by the next day they were a different team.” The spark was back and the determination was evident on their faces, he says. “They showed they really wanted to win it and just put the effort together. The kids did it on the field and really knuckled in. “It’s been an awesome time. I hope it continues as rippa is a great game for boys and girls. “It’s a great tournament – so many kids haven’t been on a plane before or been to Wellington so it’s good for them to come down and represent their school and Auckland. They loved it.”
Read the full story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/9087121/You-little-rippas