Rugby: Ex-Warrior in talks with Taieri

Ryan Shortland
Ryan Shortland
Former New Zealand Warriors centre Ryan Shortland may turn out in a Taieri rugby jersey next year.

Taieri premier rugby coach John Kelly said "strong" negotiations were going on with Shortland but the Masterton-born player had not yet signed with the club.

He declined further comment.

Shortland, after four years with mainly Melbourne Storm junior sides, moved to the Warriors last season, hoping to crack the first grade.

But his path to the first-grade Warriors side was blocked by international centres Jerome Ropati and Brent Tate.

Of Maori heritage, he was not offered a contract with the league side for next year and is looking at options for continuing his sporting career, in either code.

Shortland (22), who is 1.86m tall and weighs about 94kg, initially made a good impression for the Warriors, crossing twice in his first game for the Auckland-based side in a narrow win against Newcastle at Mt Smart Stadium in April.

But he made only four further appearances for the team and, as the season neared its close, with the Warriors right in the play-off picture, he was not sighted.

He has now set his sights on a rugby career and played for a New Zealand Barbarians side which played against a wider All Black training squad last month.

Shortland is believed to also be talking with North Harbour and Auckland, though nothing has been signed.

Otago Rugby Football Union chief executive Richard Reid said Shortland was a player of interest but no contract had been signed.

Taieri is returning to the Premier grade next year, after beating University B in a promotion-relegation game in August this year.

The Mosgiel-based club was last in Premier grade in 2000, and will be looking to boost its playing stocks to be competitive.

 

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