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Hunter rugby juniors welcome strong support

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The Waratahs Junior Rugby Club has welcomed the strong backing from the Hunter region’s premier support organisation for a Schools Rugby Gala Day it will stage later this week.

The Hawthorne Club recently voted to provide $1,000 sponsorship for the 2022 Rugby Schools Gala Day to take place at the University of Newcastle grounds on Thursday 17 March.

“The sponsorship is a massive boost in meeting our costs to organise and conduct the gala day, which has become an annual event for local primary schools,” Waratahs junior president Chris Grieve said.

“We’re hosting coaching clinics in various primary schools and there is great excitement from the young students about playing in the gala.

“They are really enjoying being given an introduction to the code of rugby.”

The primary school students will play for two trophies.

Years 3-4 are contesting the Dave Bowtell Memorial Trophy while Years 5-6 will vie for the Ray Frost Memorial Trophy.

The competitions have been named after two long-serving players and supporters of The Waratahs.

The Hawthorne Club chairman Rowan Burgess said the Schools Rugby Gala Day was the type of event his organisation wanted to support as it provided a pathway to junior rugby.

“We were established 1997 with one of our strategic aims being to back rugby clubs throughout the Hunter,” he explained.

“The club proudly boasts a diverse membership of high-profile businessmen and women who utilise their experience and connections to achieve its goals. 

“In the past 25 years, The Hawthorne Club has raised more $850,000 in funds for the support of rugby and its participants.

“The upcoming Schools Gala Day is an example of where our assistance can be beneficial.”

Grieve said the current clinics introduced students to basic rugby skills.

“They have been designed to incorporate a fun element in allowing pupils to learn running and ball handling techniques,” he added.

“We are fortunate to have the assistance of NSW Rugby and The Waratahs senior club in running the clinics with our accredited coaches conducting a series of basic rugby lessons.”

Among some of the schools participating in the clinics are Corpus Christi and St Phillip’s (Waratah), Minmi, Wallsend and Waratah.

“The 2022 gala day is programmed as part of the junior club’s pre-season and will allow students to experience a great team sport, which they might like to take up with The Waratahs in the coming rugby season,” Grieve said.

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