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by Greta Yeoman

Aoraki secondary schoolgirl rugby players received coaching from a Black Fern last week.

Christchurch-based Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge hosted a pre-season training session at Alpine Energy Stadium on Tuesday last week for about 80 high school rugby players from the Aoraki area.

South Canterbury Rugby Football Union women’s rugby development officer Caro Rhodes said the training session was a good chance for the young Aoraki players to learn from a Black Fern, and to gather before the season started.

Cocksedge started her own coaching programme – Females Coaching Females – to encourage more young girls to take part in rugby.

Training time . . . Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge (front row, fourth from right) joined about 80 South Canterbury high school girls for a training workshop last week. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

The sport’s popularity had increased following the Black Ferns’ continued success internationally.

Those present at last week’s session were from Timaru Girls’ High School, Craighead Diocesan, Mt Hutt College, Ashburton College, Mountainview High School and Roncalli College, along with a few other schools.

The secondary school season would begin in the second week of May, Rhodes said.

She expected to have U15 and U18 girls rugby grades this year, as well as a new U13 grade starting.

This followed on from the launch of an U11 girls grade last year, which had proved popular.

Players in the U15 and U18 girls grades would attend a gala night for secondary school girls rugby on May 1, Rhodes said.

It will start at 4.30pm at the Alpine Energy Stadium in Church St.

The secondary season will start on May 8.