Sights trained on Seddon Shield

PETER JONES
Last updated 11:29 04/07/2014
Nelson Marlborough Falcons
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

GAME BOYS: Members of the Marlborough under-52kg primary schools rugby team, who will contest the annual Seddon Shield  Districts tournament in Blenheim next week.

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New Zealand's longest-running rugby tournament comes to Blenheim on Monday, when the annual week-long Seddon Shield District Primary Schools tournament kicks off at Lansdowne Park.

The tournament began in 1934 and has been staged every year since, except in 1938 when it was cancelled because of a flu epidemic, and in 1942 when petrol restrictions during the war years saw it canned.

Next week Marlborough will host teams from Nelson, Golden Bay/Motueka, Buller and West Coast.

Games are played each day at 1.15pm and 2.30pm from Monday to Thursday and finish on Friday morning with games at 9.30 am and 10.40 am.

The host province boasts a proud history in this tournament, having won 40 tournaments over the years. However, it hasn't tasted success since 2010, something this year's coaches, Rick Line and Chris Valli, will be eager to address.

The team has been training for nearly six weeks and last weekend played a warmup game against an under-13 selection.

There will be no easing into the tournament , with Marlborough drawn first up against traditionally strong rivals Nelson at 1.15 on Monday. On Tuesday they meet West Coast at 2.30pm, have a bye on Wednesday, play Buller at 2.30pm on Thursday before winding up their campaign against Golden Bay Motueka at 10.40am Friday.

Tournament spokesman Alan Straker said: "With a weight limit of 52kg, teams are very even and some exciting rugby is promised.

"There will be many rugby people in Marlborough with fond memories of this tournament so get down to the park next week and cheer the boys on."

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- The Marlborough Express

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