The inaugural Kiwi Junior Rugby League Festival kicks off in Whakatāne today with an opening ceremony at Rugby Park at 2 pm.

The two-day festival, organised by Global Games with support from the Whakatāne District Council and William Stewart of Mauriora Marketing, will provide a unique opportunity for young players aged from 9-13 years to
participate in the sport they love and test their skills against other touring teams from throughout New Zealand.

Tyrone Campbell of Global Games says they are expecting more than 3000 people to be taking part either as participants or support, and he asks locals to offer a warm Whakatāne welcome to everyone.

“We have teams here from all over New Zealand,” Mr Campbell says, “and as part of the event they will be staying at marae throughout the District, so they will really get a taste of the Eastern Bay while they are here. People are welcome to come down to the opening today and also to watch the games around Rugby Park that kick off from 9 am on both
Saturday and Sunday.”

“About 90% of grass roots sports kids never get the chance to play in events such as this,” Mr
Campbell says, “so this is opening the door to those young players that will be the heart and
soul of sports clubs across the country for a generation to come.”

The Festival will conclude with prize giving at 2:30 pm on Sunday at Rugby Park, after which
teams will depart for home.

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