Will avenges boating loss with Rippa team

NEIL RATLEY AND WILMA MCCORKINDALE
Last updated 05:00 14/04/2014
 Prince William, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and Catherine cheer on their Rippa Rugby teams
TOP COACHES: Prince William, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and Catherine cheer on their Rippa Rugby teams, Clutha, in red, and Pirates in Dunedin yesterday.

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The Clutha District Rippa rugby team played a major role in helping Prince William win back some lost sporting pride against his wife, Kate.

After the duchess beat William 2-0 in a sailing match last week, he was selected to coach the Clutha side, and his pre-game pep talk left no doubt he wanted revenge.

Will's team beat Pirates 30-20, with Clutha 7-year-old Chase Te Moananui-Currie stealing the show with three tries, at the Dunedin stadium yesterday afternoon.

Clutha captain Henry Craig, 7, said the duke was desperate to even the sporting ledger with his wife. "He told us we had to beat her," he said proudly.

Before the final, the Clutha team's young girls agreed meeting Prince Willam would be the highlight of the tournament - but for the boys it was all about meeting All Blacks Ritchie McCaw and hometown hero Ben Smith.

The reported 8000-strong crowd, packed mostly into the main stand, rose and cheered as the royals walked down the tunnel and on to the grass.

The pair, wearing casual clothes, were joined by several New Zealand rugby stars, including McCaw, Smith and sevens skipper DJ Forbes.

Morgan Boivin-Edwards and her best friend Caitlin O'Neill, both 11, arrived early at the stadium to spot the duchess.

"We both like how she was just a normal girl then became a princess," Morgan said.

Meeting and watching royals was old hat for Dunedin friends and neighbours Rachel Boyle and Liz Clark.

"I got to meet the Queen and Princess Anne while my husband was in the British Army for 37 years," Boyle said.

"I remember they had to bring royal cutlery from Buckingham Palace. The army-issued china wasn't good enough."

She was also dressed a lot less formally this time.

Clark said she watched the Queen sail into Otago Harbour in 1963 and had been at Otago Boys' High School when Princess Diana visited two decades later.

"You have to come out and see the royals when they are in town," she said.

After the Rippa rugby, Prince William thanked the crowd for its hearty southern welcome and said he had found the New Zealand city "where the passion for rugby runs deepest".

Earlier in the day, thousands were left disappointed when the couple did not stop to chat in the Octagon. Instead they made their way up the steps of St Paul's Cathedral to attend a Palm Sunday service.

About half the crowd stayed, hoping for a royal walkabout after the service.

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Their patience was rewarded when Kate gracefully made her way down the steep cathedral steps in her high heels and headed for the crowd, while William went to waiting royal fans on the opposite side.

The long wait was too much for 4-year-old Tyler Marr, of Oamaru, who screamed as Kate shook his hand. The youngster had been up since 5am and in the Octagon since 7am, his mum, Annie Marr, said.

"He's so tired. That's why he was crying."

 

- The Southland Times

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