Rugby: Time to discuss prem rugby

Harbour strolled to the top of the comp with a comfortable victory over Kaik at the Lobster Pit and is it the only serious challenger to Varsity?

Kaik's brief flirtation with the four has dissipated.

Super Coach nominee Ben Herring came so close with AU against Southern but his side was cruelly robbed by a last-minute penalty and still remains a lonely last on the ladder.

But the word is Herring has been given a stay of execution by the "heavies'' at the Onion and lives to fight another day.

Dunedin crushed Taieri and ended its dream unbeaten run and catapulted itself back into the four.

Taieri though has fallen off the top rung to slip back to second on the ladder.

The mighty Green Island boys got it done over Zingers at the Toolbox to nail their second win and have reached the rarefied heights of sixth on the ladder with supporters in a heightened state of euphoria.

Varsity moves to second-equal after destroying Pirates which is a team without a galleon right now.

The situation

The rumours have been flying since last Friday regarding the Pirates dilemma.

The team wasn't going to front on Saturday against Varsity, had nobody at training last week, and chairman Conrad Stedman was axed at a tempestuous meeting on Monday night.

Well, sorry to disappoint, but none of this is true.

The side has had 16 prem players injured since the start of the season and just hasn't got adequate replacements, especially in the front row.

Its scrum front row was popped over the back of the locks early on Saturday against Varsity, which tells the story in itself.

It is bringing players in from overseas next week with help of former player Glenn Dickson, apparently.

There was an emergency meeting on Wednesday night with the other clubs in the hope of borrowing some players to enable it to front this weekend.

That remains a work in progress but I'm hopeful the club will get a team on the paddock against Taieri.

What came out of the meeting is that Zingari, Green Island and Harbour could be in exactly the same boat if injuries go against them.

We have already had a couple of defaults in prem IIs this year and the competition has been going for only three weeks.

Club rugby Godfather Ralph Perkins is calling for a meeting in July of all clubs to openly and honestly discuss the future of prem rugby - can't come too soon.

Pirates is not entirely blameless here.

The prem coaching situation over the past three years has been tenuous, to say the least.

Thus, it has done no recruiting to shore up weaknesses, so it's not surprising where the club is now at.

But all is not lost.

It does have six teams at the club which makes it numerically in the top two or three and has the biggest school pupil module in town.

I hear there are amalgamation talks with Southern and, personally, I think that is premature - but, as always, I'll keep you informed.

It gets murkier

I said last week I would resolve who was helping out Eric V with the coaching at the Eels but I'm still left in puzzled wonderment.

Eric cut a lonely figure behind the posts as his team was dismantled by the Sharks.

I did see Finchy wandering around looking important but not sure what at!

Murray Roulston confirmed he is not the assistant.

I'll keep beavering away.

But wait, there is more.

Ben Miller (Otago sevens rep) was listed to start for the Eels at first five on the weekend but I hear he played for the Kaik prem IIs.

What is going on?

Did he have a clearance from the Eels?

Is he staying there?

It's time for the Godfather Mike Casey to make a flying visit back from Twizel and get Taieri back on track.

What next?

Country rugby

More drama in North Otago with the Maheno coach now being suspended for a couple of weeks for injudicious remarks to a ref.

Colin Jackson (CEO of North Otago), please explain.

Mate, there is no point you coming out and saying we can't name anyone.

What is that solving?

Front foot this thing.

Do I need to repeat myself again?

Oh, by the way, Old Boys won by 70!The Maggots are unbeaten in Central and Alex still hasn't won a game so nothing to report.

Lawrence is unbeaten in the South and Clutha bounced back after the dreaded loss (I love bringing that up!) so no change there either.

Super Coach nominee

Pete McIntyre, Dunedin's best sharebroker (self-appointed), has been nominated by his assistant coach, unbelievably! He's coaching the Blues at Varsity and lost his first two games.

Then they turned around and thrashed the unbeaten Makos at the weekend.

So what, you may say.

Turns out he was on holiday for the week and the team played out of its skins - thus the nomination. It's worthy of consideration.

Comings and goings

I hear Aleki Morris is off to Southland on contract in the next few weeks - good luck - hope it goes well. He'll be a loss to the Hawks title aspirations.

But I hear big winger from years gone by, George Folau, is back in town and could be suiting up for Harbour this weekend.

Now there is a guy who puts the fear of God into the world's skinny wee wingers.

Will Henry, the long-serving prop for the Sharks, playing the Eels at the weekend loomed up in the backline and put a grubber kick through into the 22 and rolled the ball out in the corner.

As he stood admiring his handiwork, he was astounded to hear torrents of abuse from two players outside him.

Turns out it was two Highlanders in the form of angry Gareth Evans and Rob Thompson who succinctly pointed out they were unmarked and would have scored!

Like all good props he smiled, shrugged his shoulders and promptly ignored them.

This weekend

Crushed Rhys Heatley from Kaik at the weekend and on to embattled Pirates manager Brent Rodger this week, so the streak is reaching mythical proportions.

Varsity (13+) will have too much game for the Spannerheads at the Oval.

The Ponies up against Kaik (12-) at the Gymkhana Ground is too close to call but possibly Kaik by a whisker, to leave the poor little Shetlands winless.

The Eels (13+) over Pirates and nothing more to say.

The Magpies take on the Sharks (12-) for the beloved Reggett and the Sharks may just get up.

The Hawks (13+) just too big for a Zingers team going backwards with injury problems.

The late mail

Highlanders lock Alex Ainley has signed for Otago this year, apparently.

Great signing by Corey Brown in my opinion - Alex is a good man and tough uncompromising player, who will lend a lot of experience to the Otago pack.

He is a Shark, after all, so that's another plus!

- Paul Dwyer 

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