The Go the H2O movement has a new champion with Wellington Rugby Union joining the growing list of sports clubs and regional codes to promote water as the drink of choice.

Now more than 5,000 junior rugby players are encouraged to experience water only sidelines as the norm and are getting healthier rewards with Go the H2O Player of the Day pool passes.

Wellington Rugby Union has worked alongside their 19 clubs to encourage the junior programmes to have water only sidelines.

They have also utilised branded skins for the portable hydration station to promote the water only message at their events and sports festivals.

In recognition of their commitment to promoting water only, the clubs receive Player of the Day certificates with a free pool pass to any of the pools run by Hutt City Council,Upper Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council and Kāpiti District Council.

“There are numerous documented benefits to children playing sport; overall health and wellbeing is a big part of this.

It makes sense for us to take the opportunity to encourage our young players to make healthy choices, across a range of the daily decisions they make, hydration associated with sport is just one of them” says Tammy Ferreira from the Wellington Rugby Union.

“It is exciting to have Wellington Rugby Union join the movement to promote water only sidelines.

We acknowledge their commitment to make their junior sidelines healthier places to be for the players and their supporters.

Across many sporting codes we’re seeing a significant shift towards player wellbeing beyond game time.

It is becoming normal and accepted for junior sports to be water only and for players to choose healthy options” says Hayley Buchan from Healthy Families Lower Hutt.

After just one season, Wellington Rugby Union’s involvement in water only sidelines has had a impact on our community.

Five thousand players and their whānau were exposed to a water only culture, and a large proportion of these have had a free opportunity to be active at their local pool.

“The player of the day certificates have been a fantastic way to reiterate to players that we support water only sidelines, the addition of the free pool entry voucher goes one step further in encouraging activity – together to help our children build a clear picture of what a healthy lifestyle looks like and how much fun it can be” says Tammy.

Imagine if there was no demand for sweet drinks from our young people because water is the normal and desired drink of choice.