MORE than 35 teams battled it out on Stuart Park on Thursday for the Port Macquarie secondary schools rugby sevens gala day.
The top two teams in each division were vying for a spot in the Kempsey regional final on September 5.
NSW Rugby North Coast development officer Tom Davidson said the day was very well supported.
"We've got about a 30 per cent growth on last year which is great," he said.
"It's a credit to the hard work that Lisa Vogel, Lachie Morse and the local rugby clubs have been doing to get kids into the game."
Teams from Taree, Wauchope and Kempsey joined schools from Port Macquarie in the fast-paced version of the game where tries were scored with ease such was the open space.
"Growth in our events usually means growth in exposure of the game so the more kids we can get having a taste of rugby the better," Davidson said.
"We find if we can get kids into a second or third involvement in the game, hopefully we see a transition into club teams."
The addition of schools such as Melville High School and Hastings Secondary College Port Macquarie Campus was pleasing.
"Hastings and Melville have four teams this year, they only had one last year," Davidson said.
Davidson said it was pleasing to see the increase in "rugby IQ" from some of the players.
"It's good to see a couple of the kids learning the intricacies around tackling, but there are kids here that play locally and they know the tricks of the trade," he said.
"The raw talent that a lot of the kids bring that have never played the game before is great to see when it's unleashed in a bit of space."
What else is happening in sport?
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.