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Don't forget about the Central Western Rugby Competition as it is alive and flourishing with two full rounds of 16 game - despite moves to have the competition split. Details of the teams are as......
Central Pirates - After their fine show last year this team will again be a power unit and coach Wayne Adams realises the need to motivate his team to hold on to the top ranking. He has a team of powerful forwards and experienced backs and also reliable goal kickers.
Losses through retirement include Tom Fairbairn, a most durable hooker, Colin Redman a lock and Bruce McNaughton. Gains include former Ohai-Nightcaps five-eight Kevin Taylor and senior reserve players Philip Payne and Grant McIntyre.
Master tactician Jim Phair will be full-back and will have Kevin McCallum as back-up, Shane McKenzie, John Wishart, Forrester Norman (an evergreen) and Owen Shaw will be the pool of the three quarter line. Former Southland representative, Graeme Anderson will be at centre with Murray Brown, Taylor and Brian McIntyre in contention for second five eight. Tony McKenzie will be first five eight and will have either Wayne McCallum or Payne inside at half-back. Bevan Brown, Donny Lewis and Bob Shaw are experienced loose forwards.
The locks will come from Bill French, Ian Harding and Alister Calvert and props from Southland representative Bruce Lewis (after a year off), Wally Nelson and Russell Leonard. There are hookers to burn in Ken McNaught, Marty Fairbairn and Grant McIntyre.
Last year this team won 15 of its 16 games - 384 for - 158 against.
Winton - A new coat Kevin Neylon, to direct a team that has maintained its core from last season and looks to be reasonably well balanced. This team was the only side to beat Central Pirates last year, promised much during the competition but never really lived up to its potential. Winton was second on the central sub-union table last year and finished fourth in the combined table.
Losses include the 1982 player-coach Murray Mitchell who has finally retired after many years with Limehills, Winton and Southland. Mitchell will be missed in the backline as he had the ability to read a game. Graeme Richardson, a hard running winger is injured, Tim Oughton, a utility player, ahs retired and Scott Rowe, the solid prop and former South Island age rep is in Australia, all of which are serious losses of experienced men.
Gains include Locksley McNaught - who has returned after two seasons away - Brian gillan, Russell McKay, Malcolm Dunn, Greg Keen, Mark Maginn and Kiper Morrison. McNaught is a big fellow and when fit should be a valuable asset to the scrum. McKay played well for the Alliance A team at the recent freezing works tournament. Keen formerly played half-back for Otautau. Maginn is a promoted senior reserve player capable of playing half or full-back. Dunn formerly played for Winton a number of season ago.
The backs could line out something like this - Stephen Boyle or Maginn at Full-back, Alan Hamilton, Greg Boyle, Kirk Pierce and Evan McLellan or Alan Smith at centre, Morrison and Dunn as five eighth.
There are three vying for the halfback position John Hamilton, Keen and Maginn. Hamilton played for Central last year but other two also have good credentials. Ray Boyle will be in Christchurch for the first half of the season. Similarly there are several loose forwards available. They include David Ward, Peter Keast, McKay and Gillan, Chris Ward and possibly Greg Boyle. McNaught, Dave McHugh, Wilson Lindsay and Johnathon Woods will form the pool of locks with Chris Ward also able to fit in. There is also an ample supply of props in the way of Chris Thomson, Mark Edmond and Ross Springford available. Stephen Kean, the 1982 captain, and John Moss will be the hookers.
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