Call for NZR to remember grassroots

North Otago union chief executive Colin Jackson is calling on New Zealand Rugby to remember its roots.

NZR announced a recent governance review that proposed a shift from a representative model to an independent model, but it has been met with a good deal of angst among the rugby community.

The New Zealand Players’s Association has hit back, citing a lack of trust and confidence in the present board and calling for members to resign.

Jackson said he hoped grassroots and community rugby, where all Super Rugby and NPC players started, did not fall by the wayside.

"I think the current impasse between New Zealand Rugby and the provincial unions is not a good look," Jackson said.

"All I would be hopeful [for] is that grassroots and community rugby is not a victim in all of this.

"It’s very important that the game as a whole understands where professional players come from.

"Please don’t forget us."

The North Otago union posted a net loss of $10,554, which included depreciation of $6500, at their annual meeting last night.

While things were down compared to last year due to the Silver Lake deal, Jackson said the union was still in good heart.

Commercial income was up $40,000, grant funding was up $17,000 and the union had a good cash buffer in the bank for the first time in a long time, he said.

"Looking forward, we have to be [conscious] of the fact economically times are tough," Jackson said.

"We’re going to have to work hard to not only retain but increase the sponsorship and grant funding.

"Although economically it’s tough, it’s all positive out there that we have fantastic support from our established sponsors who have been nothing but 100% supportive."

Gerard McCarthy and Chris Rawson were named as North Otago patrons.

McCarthy, a life member and former president of Athletic Marist, served a long stint as Old Golds manager, and Rawson is a passionate life member of the North Otago Rugby Supporters Club.

"They’ve both been fantastic in the way that they have promoted North Otago rugby and promoted in a really positive way," Jackson said.

"For both of them, you ask them to do something and to help and it’s always yes.

"Both would give the shirt off their back for North Otago."

The Citizens Shield made a "fast and furious" start at the weekend and there was a buzz around town for the rest of the club rugby season, Jackson said.

He was confident they would get through club rugby season at Centennial Park before the Whitestone Contracting Stadium grandstand was torn down as part of the new Waitaki Event Centre.

Jackson was optimistic they would get through a Heartland Championship campaign at the stadium as well, but no firm decisions had been made on where the Old Golds would play if they could not be on the No 1 ground.