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Teams are very similar this year in Eastern Rugby, and Edendale looks like the team to beat for the Wallis Shield, but it would have been a brave man to predict the winner. Edendale beat Mataura in the final last year and the latter team could also be the winner.
Albion was the team that caused a few surprise upsets and last year was one of their better ones. They seem to lack in the quality of good backs and this season. Kevin Gentle, the first-five has been bought up from third grade, which is great to see the young ones coming through the grades. Lyall Barton who has come from Taieri, will play at second five and Ross Reynolds,
Ray Stevenson and Donald Agnew will probably be in the three quarter mix with Rex McDougall at fullback.
It will be disappointing for Albion that they are to lose their best player from last year in Paddy O'Sullivan, first five eight, who has transferred to Pioneer. Kevin Arbuckle is transferring to Invercargill, Robert Hill will be playing in Balclutha, Mark Price has gone to Napier. Albion could match any of the forward battles last season and it will again compete with a effective forward pack. Alan Ritchie and Alan Spittle will be invaluable in the tight where they will be aptly supported by Ken Spittle, Bruno Gardiner, and Mike Voss.
The fastest loosie in the competition is Paul Wallis who they are thrilled stayed with them and the competent No 8., Ray Muir will make up the loose trio.
Howes, the coach said that they are working on a new game plan this year and it may take a few games for everyone to gel, but feels that they have a team that will be competitive and eager to prove they are an opponent to be wary of.
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