Questions over path to Mitre 10 Cup

Can Otago carry their momentum from last weekends Ranfurly Shield win into the Championship...
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What happened at the AGM?

Well, everybody got to have their say in an orderly fashion. The clubs have got their special AGM to discuss direct representation on the Otago board. The discussion around pathways for club players into the Mitre 10 Cup was lively. Clubs are wanting a set of guiding principles introduced around the selection of Otago teams. With the numerous professional comps springing up, the worry is an Otago team will just jet in to play for Otago on July 1 in any given year.

Yes, this may seem extreme, but without guidelines it could happen. The clubs are looking for leadership from the board, so it will be interesting to see how this evolves.

Player numbers in town

On the face of it, numbers look pretty good, with 53 teams against 52 last year. Prems have 11 teams, against 10 last year. Open grade is 11 against 11. Prem Colts nine teams this year against eight last year. Women six teams this year against five last year. But I know some clubs are having issues with player numbers.

It's great to see the women's numbers up, with Green Island and Taieri registering teams, but numbers at the Toolbox are thin. I understand they are being helped out by AU which is encouraging to hear. Both Varsity and Dunedin have entered two Prem Colts teams, but Varsity is out of Junior Colts; that grade looks a bit weak.

Country rugby

All three comps begin tomorrow with some new faces and sad omissions. Lawrence is gone from the South Otago comp and Clyde has departed in Central. Roxburgh has risen from the ashes but fled from Central and has taken Lawrence's spot. Matak defaulted its first game against Arrowtown, but is expected to front this week. A few of the Clyde lads are heading that way and possibly a few from Wanaka, which was going to have two sides, but just did not quite have enough. Cromwell has entered a second team to bolster the comp. Athletic was rumoured to be out in the north but got a team on the park. It fell to Excelsior by 60. Colin Jackson's 737 of players has been de-railed (can I say that?) as the airport can't accept it this year, so the comp will have to make do!

Clutha should go unbeaten after putting nearly 80 on Clinton.

The mighty Metro comm.

Things up until recently had been going well for "Reggie" and the mighty Metro committee, and he had been dubbed the "Commissioner". But you're only as good as your last game and he has harshly now been called the "DeCommissioner"! They have been rectified. In the end eight of the nine prem teams will get four points for one of their byes while Kaik, which have an extra game, will not.

You wouldn't read ...

The motto of this story is choose very carefully who you go into business with. Dunedin's largest real estate agent, who played for the Landers and the ABs but who shall remain nameless, is setting up a gym but with Dunedin's best lawyer, also very large, and may be coaching Southern, but will also remain nameless. The "agent" was sent to the States to source gym equipment. He duly arrived in Burlington, Vermont, and couldn't find the warehouse. He rings the lawyer slightly mystified and says the place doesn't exist. When asked which town and state he's in, the lawyer realises what his partner has done. He was suppose to be in Burlington, North Carolina. The agent checks a map and measures the distance with his fingers and says no problem, it's only a few hundred kilometres - I'll rent a car. Luckily the lawyer double checks to find it is 1500 miles, so his credit card takes another hammering! The moral - pick your partners!

This weekend

Up against Chris Hart Ref Supremo and Dunedin's best victualler and Liquorland tycoon, so win No 2 coming up! Surely the Sharks (12-) bounce back at the Pony Pit over AU. Magpies (12-) should beat Zingers up at the Cemetery. Varsity (12-) are at home to Kaik; nearly too close to call, but the students just. The Hawks (12-) are at home to Eels, and Eels struggle to slither on shells - so Harbour just.


We lost Tracey O'Brien a couple of weeks ago - a great supporter of club rugby in this town. His son Nathan laces up for Sharks. Mate, you will be sorely missed. Deepest condolences to Nathan, Vicki and Caitlin.

 - Paul Dwyer


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