Coed schools team planning well advanced

Scott Manson
Scott Manson
The jerseys have been sorted.

The coaching staff is in place.

Now all the Combined Coeds need is a team.

The Otago Premier Schools tournament kicks off in May and Otago Spirit coach Scott Manson has been drafted in to help coach and get the new team established.

Taieri College, Kavanagh College and Kaikorai Valley College have joined forces to field what they hope will be a competitive side this season. But the team is open to all coed schools in Dunedin.

It is going to be a big logistical challenge bringing together so many schools under the one banner. But a lot of planning and thought has already gone into the season.

Zingari-Richmond loose forward and Kavanagh College teacher Jack Wolfreys is the head coach. He will be assisted by Manson and Taieri College head of sport Jared Peacock.

The trio have been busy working through the issues, such as where the team will train, where it will play and who will make the team.

The last question is still a work in progress. But the plan is for the squad to train out at Mosgiel once a week and ''hopefully at Montecillo on the other training day'', Manson said.

It is likely their home games will be staged at those venues as well, although there might be an opportunity to play at somewhere like Bayfield Park.

''At the end of the day as long as there is a pathway for the top kids to perform,'' Manson said.

Training will get under way in the next few weeks. Initially there will be one very big squad.

''Then we will have some trial games and select the team. Pretty sure Andy Hunter [former Kaikorai and Otago assistant coach] is going to come on board as an independent selector.

''He'll provide that little bit of independence.''

As for expectations, well, it is way too soon to say.

''Obviously Kavanagh and Taieri have been in that First XV comp. If we can get a good couple of kids from [other schools] and put them all together, hopefully that will help.

''It got to the point where you just can't compete with the single sex schools. So let's draw it all together and keep that pathway alive, so kids can still go to coed schools and be able to perform at a high level.''

Whatever happens, the Combined Coeds will not win the best dressed award. The jerseys are, well, a real splash of colour.

''It is maroon and navy blue hoops with some little gold stripes through it and a thick green strip down the side with a light blue collar.''

Interesting.

The Combined Coeds' opening game is in Dunedin against South Otago High School on May 4. Two weeks later the team will play Wakatipu High School under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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