World Cup fever hits with visit of New Zealand side

Wairoa College U18 deliver The Haka �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1539-217EB
Wairoa College U18 deliver The Haka �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1539-217EB

Rugby World Cup fever is hitting the country and Banbridge and Dromore are no exception after a visiting New Zealand school played against Banbridge Academy and Dromore High School.

Wairoa College u18s beat Banbridge Academy while Dromore High School u16s secured a 13-12 victory over their visitors.

Wairoa College are currently on a tour of Europe. They started in Dublin before travelling up to Banbridge and Dromore.

They’ve now flownover to England and will stop off in France and Belgium before flying home.

Wairoa College is an almost exclusively Maori school.

Dromore Rugby coach, Josh Pentland was impressed by the New Zealanders and said it was a good experience for his team.

He said: “They were very physical and played a good brand of rugby.

“It was good to get a win. there were a few mistakes but you’d expect that from the first game of the season.

“The pupils hosted their 31 players and around 200 or 300 people were down to watch the match. “It was a great night for the school.” Wairoa College also performed a Haka in the school assembly on the Wednesday morning.

Josh said: “We gave them a good breakfast - an Ulster Fry actually.

2They performed a regional Haka in the school assembly and then their own school version of the Haka before the match.

“It was a good experience for the boys to experience a different culture. Dromore Rugby club put on food for both the teams, coaches and their parents after the match which was great.”

Following the match against Banbridge Academy 1st XV, the Wairoa College touring party of 32 players and staff enjoyed a pizza meal for all the players.

A Banbridge Academy school plaque was also presented to the Wairoa team as a momento of their visit.

Banbridge Academy’s Joanne Greenlee said: “We’re delighted they came.

“It was exciting to have them at the school and see them do the haka.

“They beat us so maybe the haka really works.”

The Rugby World Cup is currently taking place in England. Ireland and New Zealand have both won their first two group matches and could meet in the quarter-final should one team finish first in their group and the other finish second in their group.

The video of Wairoa College performing the Haka at a Dromore High School assembly can be found on the ‘LEADER’ website -