South Otago rivalry played out in France

A bit of South Otago rivalry was played out in the south of France yesterday.

It may seem like a million miles from the rolling fields of the Clutha district but three players originally from the South Otago region took to the field in Biarritz.

Biarritz beat Oyonnax in the match in the D2 league, the competition just below the French Top 14 league.

In the Biarritz side were former Otago players Adam Knight and Gavin Stark. Knight, a loose forward, last played for Otago in 2017 and left for Biarritz last year.

The son of former Otago lock Richard Knight, Adam played 27 games for Otago before he signed a two-year deal with the French club and left New Zealand in the middle of last year.

Stark, who was head boy at Blue Mountain College and made the New Zealand schools team in 2013, played for the University club in Dunedin. He played three games for the Otago side, the most recent in 2016.

The former national junior sprint champion was hit hard by injury problems after leaving school and struggled to stay on the field.

He left Otago at the end of last year and was headed for Bay of Plenty but has now washed up in France.

He scored a try in the 30-12 victory by Biarritz over Oyonnax, having started on the right wing. Knight played on the blindside.

Tony Ensor played fullback for Oyonnax, a club which has been moving between the Top 14 and the lower division in recent years. The former South Otago High School pupil played for Stade Francais for a couple of years but joined Oyonnax in the off-season.

He was given a yellow card in the game at Biarritz for illegally knocking the ball on early on in the match.

Ensor played 34 games for Otago from 2012 to 2016, scoring. 12 tries. After a breakout year for the province in 2012, he was signed by the Highlanders in 2013.


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