Bluff early favourite for trophy

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2nd Division: Bluff player Shanan Kapene scores a try while team-mate Junior Toparea looks on during the team’s match against Star B played at Star rugby grounds last Saturday. Photo: Dave Loudon Photography

THE Bluff Rugby Club senior team is competing in the Division Two CJ Soper Trophy with five other clubs this season.

After three weeks of competition, Bluff is the early favourite for the trophy.

In round one Bluff beat Pioneer B 25-nil, then DLS 31-14 and last week beat Star B 29-nil.

Bluff’s opponents this Saturday is Blues B at Balmoral Dr, in Invercargill.

Following is a home game against fellow table-topper Waiau Star and then just three more games in the second round.

Club president Shane Pearsey said the club had again secured a fairly good squad with most players having solid Bluff connections, with some new faces joining the team this year.

Hunter Te Awhe is coaching the senior team and former Southland halfback Sonny Rangitoheriri, who was the team’s player-coach last season, is concentrating on playing the game in 2020.

Pearsey said the club was ticking over okay despite some financial pressure this year.

“It’s a pity Rugby Southland could only drop the clubs’ affiliation fees by 20%; the clubs will lose a lot more than 20% from bar takings with this shortened season. We don’t get a lot back from Rugby Southland.”

Pearsey was pleased to see plenty of Bluff supporters at the club a fortnight ago to see the win against DLS.

“The community support that day was excellent.’’

Bluff will miss two of its favourite rivals to spar with this year, with Mataura and Riverton opting out of the shortened season.

Pearsey said Bluff’s Presidents Grade team was combined with Marist this year.

“We had a few players from Marist down here with our presidents team last year, but we joined formerly this year for Marist centenary year.”

Bluff has three junior teams in 2020; an under-10, under-8 and a Rippa under-7 team. Parents are coaching these teams.

Town’s school competitions kicked off last Saturday and will go through into September.

Bluff has not settled on a suitable date to celebrate its Club Day this year.

The Bluff faithful might be pencilling it in for finals day on August 15.

Bluff Senior team: Jake Allan, Josh Reedy, Marc Nanai, Dylan Johnson, Junior Toparea, Marama Reti, Howard Moore, Shanan Kapene, Mana Puki, Sonny Rangitoheriri, Ra Kapene, Zaul Jaay Pirangi, Jordan Aerepo-Morgan, Jamahl Aerepo-Morgan, Shay Te Awhe, Shay Wixon, Sheldon Ryan, Halen Kumeroa, Daniel Wells, Josh Shaw, Tamati Taylor-Taia, Tupu Lavea.

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