This year South Otago High School (SOHS) is excited more than ever to showcase its rugby.

The high school has an incredible number of 150 boys and girls playing rugby across the board. Its four boys’ teams and two girls’ teams create an amazing rugby culture at the school and throughout the community.

Jason Palmer is the teacher in charge of boys’ rugby and David Matsas is the teacher in charge of girls’ rugby. Both teachers have prepared their teams for the season and are looking forward to plenty of success.

The boys’ teams have combined with Tokomairiro, Lawrence Area School and Catlins Area School, which has been on going for several years.

Last year the boys had some good successes with the under-14 team winning the Under-14 Championship Cup and the under-15 team won the plate.

Their coaches are:

Under-14: Tony Mallon, Tony Valli and Rym Geary.

Under-15: Mark Shore, Craig Hyslop, Luc Thomson and Jules Witt.

Second XV: Jason Gilder and Calvin May.

First XV: Adam Wyber and Nathan White

All teams have started off well in the pre-season, with the First XV beating Taieri and drawing 24-all with Dunstan. The Second XV has beaten Taieri but lost to Dunstan. The under-15 team has beaten both Taieri and Dunstan.

The under-14 team struggled at the start the season but has started to bond together well.

The First XV had a good win to start with, beating St Kevin’s College in Oamaru. The last time SOHS put 40 points on St Kevin’s was in 2009.

The goal of the First XV is to make the top six of the competition.

SOHS is beginning to take its rugby out to the country a bit more this year, with the First XV playing in Lawrence last Saturday, and other grades playing in either Milton or Owaka.

‘‘One of the key aspects to the success this year lies in the relation that the boys have with their coaches and with each other,’’ Jason Palmer said.

In the girls’ side, the senior team is coached by David Matsas and Craig Upston and the junior team is coached by Matt Lawlor and Ken Campbell.

Numbers in the girls’ grade are the highest SOHS has ever seen, which reflects the growing numbers in the girls’ game across New Zealand.

The girls have had a good preseason window with a couple of wins. Last week the senior team defeated Taieri while the junior team had a solid win over Queen’s High School.

The teams are looking forward to seeing supporters on the sideline and can’t wait to continue excelling in their seasons. Keep an eye out in the draws to see where the teams are playing and get among our rugby superstars in the making.

Dodge city . . . SOHS boys’ rugby player Kairus Booth (17) in action this season. PHOTO: HANNES HUMAN