POB gathers solid squad for 2020

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George Hall anticipates his jump at number two in the lineout for Pirates Old Boys in their loss to Woodlands at Surrey Park on Saturday. Also on alert is captain Craig Smith (black headgear) and Lennon Gaven at the back of the lineout.

THE Pirates Old Boys premier grade team has a realistic chance of pushing towards the Galbraith Shield final this year and the club’s B team is competing well in the division 2 life members’ grade.

The club is also well represented in the primary school-aged competitions, with two A grade under-13 teams, an under-11 team and an under-10 team in B grade as well as one C grade under-9 team and two Rippa under-6 teams.

The club’s vice-president Regan Johns said the presidents’ grade team was taking the season off.

“By the time the shortened season was announced, this team’s focus had shifted away from the field and on to helping increase the turnover in the clubrooms.”

The Pirates Old Boys premier squad has a superior group of players this year for co-coaches Mike McKenzie and Ben McHugh to work with.

Greg Dyer is back in the No 10 jersey; his kicking in general play and game management was a key to the team’s 12-7 victory over Marist in round one. The talented Jaye Thompson, at second five-eighth, has been combining well with the positive influence of Stags centre Isaac Te Tamaki.

Captain Craig Smith at lock, openside Ben Keenan and fellow loosie Anton Huisman are three of the hard men in a solid pack.

Hooker Tua Tuapati will be back to join the Hawkes soon, but young Josh Harwood is doing an excellent job at hooker in the interim.

Pirates Old Boys beat Star in a warm-up match and beat Marist before being beaten 53-15 by competition favourite Woodlands last weekend.

McHugh said the score wasn’t a fair reflection of that game.

“We had the better of the scums and lineouts – even earned a couple of tightheads. Our backs were going well, but Woodlands got a couple of runaway tries in the first half and then in the second half, their squad had too much depth.”

McHugh thought the competition was really tight this year. “Woodlands are obviously favourites but we could get them later on if we have our best squad available.”

Pirates Old Boys played its round three game against Blues last night and will play the Barbarians at the Gore Showgrounds at 1.30pm on Saturday.

Johns said the club was in good heart.

“The premier team has five ‘away games’ in a row, we then hope our last two round-robin games at Surrey Park attract big crowds where we can acknowledge all of our sponsors, and see all our friends, family and supporters in the clubrooms.”

Pirates was one of the pioneering rugby clubs in Southland, founded in 1883. Old Boys Rugby Club was founded in 1928; initially formed to promote rugby for the old boys of Southland Boys’ High School.

At the end of the 2000 season the Old Boys Rugby and Pirates Rugby clubs amalgamated to form the Eastern Suburbs rugby club. In 2011, the club changed its name to Pirates Old Boys to reflect its past.

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