Lack of num­bers forces hand


The Cen­tral Otago premier rugby com­pe­ti­tion has suf­fered its first ca­su­alty be­fore the sea­son has even com­menced, with Roxburgh pulling its team out.

Roxburgh Rugby Club pres­i­dent Tony Stevens con­firmed he had no­ti­fied com­pe­ti­tion of­fi­cials of the de­ci­sion on Thurs­day.

‘‘We couldn’t get enough play­ers,’’ he said. ‘‘The dis­ap­point­ing thing is, there’s a lot of jobs in the val­ley.’’

The club had re­cently been on a re­cruit­ment drive, of­fer­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and work to prospec­tive play­ers for the sea­son.

Stevens said the club was al­ready think­ing about 2018.

The ‘‘five or six re­ally keen guys’’ would look to play some­where else, prob­a­bly Lawrence or Alexan­dra, Stevens said.

‘‘It’s dis­ap­point­ing but we’ve just got to look for­ward.’’

Roxburgh’s un­do­ing means the com­pe­ti­tion - set to start on March 18 - drops to eight teams. Those other teams are Alexan­dra, Ar­row­town, Clyde Earn­scle­ugh, Cromwell, Man­iototo, Matakanui Com­bined, Wakatipu and Up­per Clutha.

The Roxburgh club cel­e­brated its 125th ju­bilee in 2013 with a re­turn to the premier grade after four years in the B grade and a 10-year hia­tus pre­ced­ing that.

It won the B grade com­pe­ti­tion in 2012.

Cromwell won last year’s premier com­pe­ti­tion for the first time in 35 years.

Roxburgh (in blue) in a 2015 match against Alexan­dra.

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