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Central Pirates drew on a lot of their 1975 young side to form their new 1976 side for the combined Central Western competition. Their biggest lost was Ron Buick.
Gains were: Jimmy Phair - second five eight, Kevin Hamilton - half-back, Neville McFarlane - winger, Johnny Weisma, lock, Peter Carson - flanker and Owen Fortune - hooker.
Weisma stood at 6ft 6" and is was still growing so he was a good prospect for the club.
Fortune was another prominent forward who was well supported by the locals.
McFarlane had made his way up through the ranks and was a prolific try scorer.
Kevin Hamilton was understudy to Michael Harris, and everyone was looking out for Phair to continue his good form in junior representative rugby.
Captain was Russell Dyet, and led a strong forward pack in Tom Fairburn, Wally Nelson, Maurice Lake.
Forrester Norman was one of the strongest midfield backs in the competition, and there was also Ron Hamil a safe full-back.
Reference: Otautau Team Hit Hard. The Southland Times April 1976
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