All You Need to Know About Rippa at Mahu

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6 Mar 2017

Welcome to Rippa Rugby at Mahu!

 Rippa rugby is a great introduction to rugby for boys and girls 4-7 years old.  Here's some information to get you started on your rugby journey with Rippa and the Mahurangi Junior Rugby Club.

 For further information please talk to a Junior Club Committee member or contact one of your 2017 Rippa Co-ordinators: Stevie Douglas 021932583 and Krissy Letcher 0211223055.


 Who can play?

Rippa rugby is for boys and girls aged 4 - 7 years old.  Players must be turning 5 years old by the 30th of June 2017 to play Rippa rugby.  Children need to have a reasonably good attention span and be able to follow basic instructions - this is in the best interest of their own enjoyment and their Coach's sanity!

 Why play Rippa if there's no tackling?

The goal of Rippa is to teach ball-handling, passing and running skills in a game with simple rules.  It allows for players to develop fundamental skills and learn the basic concepts of rugby. It's a great way to start your child's love affair with rugby before they get to start hitting tackle bags at age 6+.

 Is there any contact?

Rippa is a non-contact form of rugby similar to touch, but with players pulling a rip instead of just touching the player.  Fending and jersey grabbing is illegal in Rippa.

 Which grade or team will my child play in?

Rippa players are allocated to either ‘J8’, or ‘J7’ grade based on their birth date and weight using the North Harbour Rugby weight/age chart (see below).  If outside the rippa weights/age, boys and girls move into tackle rugby (roughly when they are 7 years old).

The Mahurangi Junior Club Committee tries to accommodate any specific team requests, however we reserve the right to allocate players as deemed necessary. Patience in this area is asked for and appreciated.



Year Born

Age at Jan 1st

Weight not to exceed (Kg) as at May 1st










5 and Under



How many players play, and do boys play with girls in Rippa?

We run mixed teams at Mahurangi.  There are generally 7 players on the field with 2 - 5 reserves depending on team size.

 Where are Rippa games played, and how long is the season?

The Rippa competition is played between the Mahurangi Club and the Silverdale Club predominantly at Orewa but we also have some home games at our Club. Games are usually played Saturday morning at 8.30 am but there may be an opportunity to play a night game on a Thursday or Friday evening. The first game is on May 6th. Last game is August 19th – a total of 14 weeks.

 What training is there for Rippa teams?

Rippa’s train for up to 45 minutes on a Thursday night, going through basic drills, skills and game play. We ask that parents don’t ‘drop and run’. Each Rippa team requires a Coach and Manager to run effectively. And that’s where we need generous parents and volunteers to put their hands up for this job!  The more parent helpers at trainings, the better it is for all involved. The club also opens the bar and kitchen for ‘Club Night’ and provides great value family meals at reasonable prices after 4 pm.

 What is registration and how much are the fees?

All players must be officially registered. You can do this online, at Registratrion Day or see one of our Rippa Co-ordinators. Fees for the year are $75 per player, payable at the beginning of the season. The fees cover a North Harbour Levy, contribution to club costs, a mouth-guard, and a team photo and certificate at prize-giving. If you have any difficulty paying fees, please see a Committee member.


Also, to ensure we comply with legislation around providing bar services, a family who has paid their registration will be issued with a membership card. The card needs to be shown in order to get discounted prices.   Non-members pay full price and must sign the book.  The membership cards can also be swiped at Mitre 10 and the Club benefits by receiving a % of your spend back in goods.


Do I need any special gear?

All players need to play in rugby/football boots, navy shorts and navy/white socks. These can be purchased yourself or through the club).  A mouth-guard is a necessity - (no mouth guard no play).  A mouth guard is provided by the club at registration or at your child’s first training session.  The Club issues jerseys and jackets for each player to use during the season, which must be returned to your Coach/Manager at the end of the season. The Club reserves the right to charge any costs of lost jerseys, jackets and gear to the individual(s) responsible.



 How is Rippa played?  (for the full set of rules check the North Harbour Rugby Website).

Rippa is played on a 1/2 field (50m to goal line) with the side-lines acting as try-lines.  

Rippa runs a rolling substitution rule.  All children are expected to have at least half a game of playing time
per game.  Players wear a velcro belt with tags (the "Rips") on each hip.

The play is a hybrid of rugby and touch rugby/league with the attacking team having 6 rips to score a try.

Once ripped the attacking player needs to pass to a team-mate to keep play going.

If the defending team get 6 rips the ball is handed over. If the attacking team score the defending team "kick off" with a pass from half-way.  If the attacking team run out of bounds or knock the ball on it's a turnover.

Do they need to stop when they've been ripped?

The goal of Rippa is to get the children playing fast - which means they should be looking to pass as soon as they are ripped, within 3 strides of the rip being pulled.  This is harder than it sounds, and J8 games tend to be stop start affairs for the first few weeks as the children get this figured out.

 What about offside rules?

Just like in rugby there are off-sides.  It's the attacking team's responsibility to make space to attack with the offside line being the place of the rip.  Unlike league and touch there is no need for the defending team to retreat behind the point of the rip.

 How strict are the rules?

We want the children to learn the rules of the game quickly and the only way to do this is to enforce the rules. Initially the rules are relaxed but this is a short term pain/long term gain trade-off with players working out what they can and can't do pretty quickly! However it’s all about HAVING FUN so don’t worry too much about the rules.

 Are the children on the field by themselves?  It must be chaos!

No they aren't and yes it is!  One coach from each team runs with the children and try to organise and co-ordinate play.  It's hard work in the early days, but the players generally get it figured out by half-way through their first season.



 Mahurangi Junior Rugby Club Objectives

1.      To promote junior rugby

2.      To promote the values of honesty, integrity, fair play and the will to win in a safe environment

3.      To support and encourage the development of coaches and coaching skills

4.      To treat all players fairly regardless of ability in a team environment

5.      To promote the rugby club as a positive environment for family

6.      To encourage parent involvement, and to take an active role within club activities.

 What’s ‘The Mahu Way’?

The Mahu Way is a code of conduct for parents and players. The Mahu Way describes our club values and outlines expected behaviours to positively support all players and volunteers involved in the game.  It is an important foundation for setting the culture of our Club. This will be discussed in more depth with each team and parents at the beginning of the season.

 What’s the ‘Mahu Muster’?

We start the season with a ‘Mahu Muster’ on Saturday April 1st at the Mahurangi Rugby Club. This is a great opportunity to get together with your team, Coach and Manager and join in a fun day of family activities. More details to follow, but pencil the date in your diary!


Are there any social and fund-raising activities?

The Club runs a number of social and fundraising events throughout the season, including our pre-season Mahu Muster day, sometimes a movie or disco night for the kids and our Club nights every Thursday night. Each player is asked to sell a box of chocolates or similar to help boost funds. These fundraising efforts help us run and maintain the club and provide equipment and gear for our junior children.

What are Mahurangi Club morning teas?

At Mahurangi we traditionally host a morning tea for the travelling team after the match. Each Mahurangi player is asked to bring a plate to share after a home games.  One time during the season your team will also be asked to be the ‘duty team’ which means you are required to unlock the clubrooms, put out trestle tables for morning tea and put the cones and flags out around the fields. Your team manager will be given keys and instructions on how to do this task at the training night prior to the Saturday you are on duty.

 How do we find out about Game & Training Cancellations?

The decision to cancel Rippa games are made by the Rippa Co-ordinators at Silverdale and Mahurangi. They will notify your team Manager of a cancellation first thing on a Saturday morning so that they can contact their teams.


Other useful information

Weekly team emails are sent out with important club info as well as the weekly draw, and newsletters are produced throughout the season. 


Have a great season with us at MAHU!