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Rugby Tournament Steeped in History

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rugby Tournament Steeped in History

One of the most important events on the junior rugby calendar kicks off at 12pm on Friday at Blake Park.

The FIL (Farming Industries Ltd) Tai Mitchell tournament began in 1938 and this year Tauranga East - comprising of Year 7 and Year 8 boys from Mount Maunganui Intermediate, Otumoetai Intermediate and the Te Wharekura O Mauao school in Bethlehem - are hosting the tournament.

Ten teams will contest the annual Bay of Plenty-wide primary school tournament, with last year's champs Te Puke looking to defend their title against Tauranga East and West, Rotorua Maroon and Gold, Galatea, Rangitaiki, Whakatane, Opotiki and Te Whanau A Apanui.

The tournament doubles as a trial for the Bay of Plenty Roller Mills team, which will represent the province at the northern regional tournament against sides from Northland, Auckland, Thames Valley, King Country, Waikato and North Harbour from September 29 to October 4.

The original Tai Mitchell Shield was presented by Mr Henry Taiporutu Mitchell in 1938, for competition among the primary school teams representing the Bay of Plenty rugby sub-unions. Mitchell was a renowned Rotorua sports administrator and a supporter of all codes.

One long time Tauranga rugby fan who will take more than a passing interest in the tournament is Brian McCord who was selected in the 1947 Tauranga team that contested the famous tournament played at the Tauranga Domain.

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