Brothers aim for Stags team

Brothers Ignacio (left) and Nico Costa hope they can get the opportunity to play alongside each other at halfback and first five-eighth for the Southland Stags this season. Photo: Richard Dimmock

BROTHERS Nico and Ignacio Costa have their eyes fixed on the prospect of wearing the Southland Stags’ No 9 and No 10 jerseys in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup campaign.

The brothers, originally from Argentina, have shifted south from Auckland and hope to make a mark in Southland club rugby and push for a place in the Stags squad.

They have linked with the Woodlands club and have already captured the interest of onlookers through the first three rounds of the club competition.

A third Costa brother, Rodrigo, is also in Southland with the hope of pushing for a Stags berth. However, the fullback’s chances were dealt a big blow while playing for Woodlands against Star on Saturday when the oldest of the brothers badly damaged his collarbone. It is the third time Rodrigo has injured his collarbone.

All three showed glimpses of their running ability during Woodlands’ impressive 57-26 victory over Star, including Nico scooting away for a long-range try.

The brothers’ rugby careers began in Argentina and have continued in New Zealand since the family shifted countries in 2002.

The youngest in the family, Nico, has already had a taste of provincial rugby, playing for Auckland in last year’s Mitre 10 Cup. He made three appearances at halfback off the bench at the end of Auckland’s campaign.

The 23-year-old has since decided it will be Southland where he will try to advance his case further for a regular Mitre 10 Cup starting spot.

“Auckland did offer me a contract to stay there, but I was looking for a change. So I decided to try this out. I also wanted to come here with my brothers,” Nico said.

“Me and my brothers were looking for a change and we heard good things about Invercargill, and some not so good things about the cold weather. But it has been nice.”

It is little surprise Nico and Ignacio have built up a good halfback-first five-eighth combination over the years given their knowledge of each other’s game and each other in general.

The brothers have played a lot of rugby together, whether it be at school, during an overseas stint in Italy, for the Eden Rugby Club and Auckland B teams last year and now with Woodlands.

While the Mitre 10 Cup season is still four months away, Nico and New Zealand under-20 representative Jay Renton look to be Southland’s likely halfback options this year.

The first five-eighths from last year’s squad, Scott Eade and Greg Dyer, are still in the province as Ignacio tries to also state his case for the all-important job in the No 10 jersey.

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