It was a “lop-sided game, as expected,” according to DW Poppy Secondary’s rugby coach Stuart Crowley.
A visiting team of 28 rugby players from New Zealand’s Te Awamutu College billeted with DW Poppy families for three days and their cultural exchange included demonstrations of Maori dance at Poppy and culminated with the friendly game on Thursday afternoon.
Poppy’s team was outplayed by the visitors, as could be expected considering that the sport is the island nation’s national pastime.
However, Poppy coach Kyle Barry told the teams during a luncheon following the game that Poppy is working hard to make the game the “number one sport here too.”
Barry also said, “What a thrill it’s been to have you here, and I hope your billets have been good hosts for all of you.”
Crowley and Barry also presented the visiting team from New Zealand with Rugby Canada shorts and socks as keepsakes of their visit. The captains of the DW Poppy Secondary and New Zealand’s Te Awamutu College exchanged gifts, as well.
The visiting team are on a two-week visit to Canada and the US, and have also spent three days each with hosts from Semiahmoo and Chuckanut as well as Poppy. They will visit Los Angeles and Disneyland before returning to New Zealand.
Te Awamutu is a town in the Waikato in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the council seat of the Waipa District and serves as a service town for the farming communities which surround it. Te Awamutu is located some 30 km south of Hamilton on State Highway 3, one of the two main routes south from Auckland and Hamilton.
Tainui Maori first settled in the area in about 1450, according to noted Tainui historian Te Hurinui-Jones. Te Awamutu means “the river cut short”, as it marked the end of the navigable section of the Mangapiko Stream. Te Awamutu was the birthplace of the first Maori King, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero (died 1860).