AFTER minimal on-field success in recent years, the Collegiate Rugby Club is having a stellar 2020 season.
The senior team is unbeaten after playing six games in the Division 2 B competition.
Club president and senior team coach Jason McIntosh credits his co-coach Colin Roberts with helping turn things around.
“Colin’s been a big help, he’s a wise hand and he’s worked wonders. We thought he’d retired from working (in the Nightcaps coal mine) and move into town, but he still hasn’t, he drives in for our two training sessions each week. He’s a massive part of our turn-around.”
McIntosh said Collegiate’s relationship with the Cowboys rugby league team was in place again this year.
“They use our facilities, lights and gear and we each provide each other with some players for our games on Saturdays and Sundays.”
“We also have four or five new players from other clubs who’ve wanted to be part of what we are doing here at Collegiate this year. Kurt McClutchie, from Woodlands, Junior Nettz, from Blues, and Daniel Low, from Ohai, are just three of the new guys that have joined our usual core of 10 players,” McIntosh said.
“We have a squad of 35 players; we have nine front rowers which has helped us spread the load during this short and fast season.”
McIntosh said the club’s cultural diversity was another one of their strengths.
“We have Fijians, Rarotongans and Maori, and we all get along great. We have seven or eight non-drinkers, and the boys have their kava in the clubrooms. We are lucky with our dedicated kitchen staff and our loyal supporters; we’ve had some tough years, suffered through some heavy defeats, so they deserve to see some success this year.”
Sam Smith has Collegiate’s Presidents’ Grade team going much better this year too.
Collegiate had three primary-aged grade teams last year but after the Covid-19 lockdown a lot of parents wanted to keep their children away, which left not enough players to field a team in any grade.
McIntosh hoped to get them back next year.
“It might take a year or two to recover from that. We just needed to back our parents who obviously have their children’s best interests at heart.”
Collegiate requires one more competition point to lock in a home final. McIntosh said it would be the first final at the Lindisfarne St, Invercargill, grounds in many years.
At each home game this year Collegiate was honouring one of its life members and this week is the turn of Ox Haines, whose achievements for the club include playing in the Presidents’ Grade team when he was aged in his 60s.
McIntosh said the club wanted the life members to know their efforts from the past weren’t forgotten.
Haines will be celebrated at the game against Pirates Old Boys B on Saturday, which is also Collegiate’s Club Day.