The pathways to high-performance rugby in the region will now no longer be reserved exclusively for the top tier male talent.
The Tasman Rugby Union has kicked the junior rep system for touch in favour of a more inclusive programme for both males and females.
This means that players of all abilities will be given the opportunity to participate in skill development sessions run by Mako players starting later this month.
Rugby development officer Mark Cochrane says the move has been made to align with modern sporting principles.
“There’s been a big change in focus from rep rugby to skill development across country.”
Mark says that research carried out by the Tasman Rugby Union found the benefits of developing all players, not just the ones deemed ‘rep-able.’
“We have no idea who the next Mako or All Black will be. Players develop at different rates, so we have to give an opportunity for all players to develop.”
He says the past system also excluded players who are new to the game.
The sessions will focus on developing the core skills of the game dubbed the “Mako Five”.
These include catch and pass, decision making, tackle, breakdown, and body position into contact.
Mark says players will practice these skills under pressure in a more meaningful, fun and engaging environment.
The sessions for U11-14s will be split between Nelson and Blenheim with players from both the Mitre 10 and Farah Palmer Cup Mako teams.
The first session is on July 28 at Tahunanui Fields.
To register go to https://www.sporty.co.nz/viewform/97526