Roxburgh reviving side

Roxburgh rugby is heading south and is confident it will have the numbers to put a side on the paddock next year.

Some hard work by the club's community and a desire to get back on the field has led to it entering a team in the southern region club competition for next year.

Immediate past-president and committee member Tony Stevens said the club had been swayed by the players, many of whom wanted to go the southern region competition as they could draw on players who were based in Dunedin.

The club last had a team in 2016 in the Central Otago competition. Lack of player numbers had forced it to not field a side in the past two years.

But a couple of players have moved into the area and others have indicated they are keen to play. There are at least 20 players committed to next season already.

There was a bit of buzz around the Roxburgh township about the club getting back on its feet and having a side to watch on a Saturday afternoon.

The club had been open in its desire to head south and the Otago Country board and Central Otago and Southern region officials had been both welcoming and understanding about the move, Stevens said.

A few players who had turned out for Roxburgh had moved to clubs further south such as Heriot and Lawrence so the pull to head south was not new.

Though it would be probably further to travel to places such as Clinton than going to Queenstown or Ranfurly, it would not be a major inconvenience.

Coaches Warren Johnston and Shaun Macaskill have been appointed for next season.

The inclusion of Roxburgh may create a bye in the competition if all eight teams from last season front up with sides next year in the southern region.

Stevens said clubs through the southern region had been supportive of the Roxburgh move.

The junior part of the club would remain aligned with Central Otago.

A town the size of Roxburgh was always struggling with player depth compared to teams from booming areas such as Wanaka and Cromwell, he said.

Upper Clutha and Cromwell have decided to field a second team in the Central Otago club competition next year because of the high number of players the clubs have.

They were getting in vicinity of more than 40 players to pre-season training which led to too many players sitting on the sideline.

There would be 10 teams in the Central Otago club competition.


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