New team . . . The Albion under-18 team run on to the field at the start of a preseason game against the under-18 Cromwell team on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Rugby players who were in the same under-age teams at Gore High School are taking to the field in an Albion under-18 team.

The team is coached by Peter Muir and Simon Tutty and will play in the Southland-wide under-18 competition.

Muir said the players, who had all left school, approached him and Tutty to ask if they would coach the team.

“Me and Simon coached them with Sean Hurley in under-14s and under-15s when they were at Gore High, coming through the grades,” Muir said.

“It’s so good watching them come through from two to three years ago to what they are now.”

The team had been training since January.

There were some very good players in the team, and one of its strengths was that the players were good friends.

“They like being around each other and having a laugh and playing sport.”

He could not remember the last time Albion had an under-18 team.

It was good to see young people taking part in sport.

“Any sport you go to, there seems to be more and more people on the sidelines.”

In a pre-season game against Cromwell on Saturday, the team won 21-0.

Tutty said it seemed a sensible idea to start the team, and the Albion club was supportive of the idea.

“There were a number of boys we’d been involved with over the past few years [who] were not playing rugby as they had left school and had no club to play for in their age group,” Tutty said.

“There were seven kids we directly knew of ourselves, and five of them had played Southland representative rugby previously.”

It was enjoyable coaching the team.

“We’re not saying we’re the best coaches but we just have great pleasure in getting the best out of those kids.”

They would hopefully go on to play for the club in the future.

They were grateful Kaimahi Sheep Conveyors had agreed to sponsor the team for three years.

The team’s first competition game is on May 22.