LADIES WAITANGI DAY: Bonnie Walsh (ROW-head gear) has just passed the ball off, Maria Rawiri (NZ) going in to catch at 2017 Waitangi Day.
LADIES WAITANGI DAY: Bonnie Walsh (ROW-head gear) has just passed the ball off, Maria Rawiri (NZ) going in to catch at 2017 Waitangi Day. Terry Hill

Waitangi Day to bring rugby community together

RUGBY UNION: Inclusiveness, culture, a good time and a delicious hāngi meal is what Cap Coast Crocs' annual Waitangi Day is all about.

The culturally inclusive day began around six years ago, and after a two-year hiatus, returned in 2017.

From there, the family-friendly day has grown in popularity and this year should be no exception.

Vice president and Waitangi Day organiser Alex Green said the February 2 event is a good day for everyone leading up to the season when other pre-season comps are out of town.

"We welcome everyone, even if they've never played a game in their life and want to have a go, they can come down,” he said.

This year will also be the first year the women's Aussie and Kiwi teams play on the same day as the men's.

"We're anticipating a pretty busy day,” Green said.

"Depending on numbers, there will be around 10-15 players a side.

"Last year we played 10-a-side and we're having three sides; Kiwis, Aussies and Barbarians (which include players from other places like Fiji and Samoa).”

Last year, the Barbarians side also had ex-Fijian and ex-Samoan professional players that hit the field, as well as other former national and state level players.

"There were 200 people including players in 2017, we're hoping for a similar turnout. We had 100 last year due to the heavy rain.”