It’s people Perkins will miss most

Long-serving Otago Rugby Football Union community rugby manager Richard Perkins retired yesterday...
Long-serving Otago Rugby Football Union community rugby manager Richard Perkins retired yesterday after more than 20 years with the organisation. PHOTO GREGOR RICHARDSON
Richard Perkins can start working on his golf game again.

He can get to the horse races a bit more.

And there are seven grandchildren to help soak up any extra time.

The almost 65-year-old is retiring after 22 years at the Otago Rugby Football Union.

He is entering retirement a few months early so his replacement, Warren Kearney, can get settled in the hot seat.

He signalled his departure last year, so he has had time to come to terms with what is a big lifestyle change. That does not make it any easier, though.

"I woke up this morning and it was a bit surreal, really," he said.

"The date looked some time off when I set it but it has crept up really quickly. I’ve had a lot of thoughts going through my mind.

"But I’m ready for it. I’m ready to pass the baton on.

"Warren will do a great job. He has a great connection with people ... so I’m comfortable I’m leaving the role in safe hands."

Perkins started with the ORFU when it still ran the Highlanders. The two parties eventually separated and in 2012 the ORFU faced its greatest challenge.

It was broke and narrowly avoided liquidation.

Covid put another hurdle in the way.

But Perkins remained focused on his role to deliver the community game.

He also never lost touch with what makes it all work — the people.

And that is what he will miss the most.

"Community rugby is about people. They are the ones on the ground that we support and they will be the judge of how things have gone during my tenure.

"And that is what I loved the most about the game and being involved — the people.

"But I won’t be lost forever. I’ll be popping up and I’ll be at games and watching rather than having to oversee and run them."

There are no "fixed" plans for his retirement, but he did mention horse racing was a big passion and he would like to work on his golf game again now he had two new hips.

He is also looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Adele, and their grandchildren.

"I’m heading towards the pension, so we will see what the sums look like before we make any firm plans. But obviously family will be important."