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Thursday, 25 April 2019 09:48 pm

Toa rugby has hopes for future despite not fielding a team in 2015

Toa Rugby Club celebrate after winning the 2014 Horowhenua/Kapiti competition.

GOOD MEMORIES: Toa Rugby Club celebrate after winning the 2014 Horowhenua/Kapiti reserves competition. Image supplied

PORIRUA’S Toa Rugby Club has failed to field a team in the Horowhenua/Kapiti competition this year for the first time in 18 years due to lack of numbers.

The club joined the competition in 1997 after playing under Porirua club Northern United for several years.

President of Toa rugby, Taku Parai, says the decision behind the change was simple.

“It was to allow our players a pathway into the representative squad, Horowhenua/Kapiti, and to help lift the quality and standard of rugby in the region, which I believe we have done,” Parai says.

The Horowhenua/Kapiti representative team plays in the Heartland Championship, a competition for New Zealand’s amateur and semi-professional provincial unions.

All Black greats, Carlos Spencer and Christian Cullen both played for the representative side as young teens before moving on to higher honours.

Toa Rugby Club is based in Elsdon, Porirua, but due to their involvement in the Horowhenua/Kapiti Competition, instead of the much closer Wellington competition, they must play all their home games in Paraparaumu.

The travel is a sacrifice that has paid off as the club has won nine championships in both premier and reserve grades combined.

Toa won back-to-back titles the last two seasons in the reserve grade, and were hoping to make it a third consecutive this season before the lack of numbers forced the club to withdraw from competition.

Horowhenua/Kapiti, Chief Executive Officer, Corey kennett.

ALWAYS WELCOME: Horowhenua/Kapiti, chief executive officer, Corey Kennett. Image: Stuff.co.nz

Toa rugby coach Mathew Solomon says he believes some players left the club to play elsewhere while others weren’t sure what was going on.

“I think what it was is there was talk about some players going somewhere, someone going somewhere else and they must’ve said, ‘oh well we haven’t got a team’,” Solomon says.

Despite not being in competition this year, Solomon hopes the club can return next year because of the proud history and relationships they’ve built with all clubs in the Horowhenua/Kapiti district.

Chief Executive Officer of the Horowhenua-Kapiti Rugby Football Union Corey Kennett says the union hopes to have Toa back next season.

“We’re keen to support them with whatever we can do. Hopefully we’ll be able to get them back here next season with at least one team,” Kennett says.

Horowhenua rugby was established in 1893 as the Horowhenua Rugby Football Union before changing the name to Horowhenua Kapiti in 1997.

Despite its status as one of the minnows of New Zealand rugby this region has produced a number of outstanding players.

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