Eli Telford is hopeful a strong showing by a Wairarapa mixed team at the central North Island regional touch rugby competition at Palmerston North last weekend will be the spur to have the province competing regularly in major tournaments.
Telford, a former Manawatu representative, was excited at the potential in the Wairarapa side, who finished fourth in their section after beating Wellington under-21s and losing to defending champions Horowhenua-Kapiti and Southland. The latter encounter was the playoff for third and fourth, with the southerners winning an exciting and closely fought game 9-5.
With Wairarapa not being affiliated to the national touch association - something Telford would like to see happen - they competed at Palmerston North by invitation and with only a couple of serious training runs behind them. "It was all a bit rushed but we fronted up and did well," Telford said. "Potentially, we were right up there. With more game time, we could have done even better."
Telford said touch was a sport suitable to virtually all age groups and had the added benefit of men and women being able to play together.
"You don't get a lot of team sports where the girls can foot it with the boys but that can happen in touch. It's a real family game and you can play it just about anywhere. It's got a lot of positives."