NZ Rugby World - First XV - - OTAGO -

The home of Andrew Hore looks in good shape to de­fend their 2015 ti­tle but the re­sis­tance they’ll get is al­ready look­ing tougher. Last sea­son was a two horse race but semi-fi­nals this time make the com­pe­ti­tion that much more open and city ri­vals Kings and OBHS will be guar­an­teed arm wres­tles. Fif­teen re­turn­ing play­ers is an omi­nous sign though and this is rea­son enough to be con­fi­dent. Of those, Woody Kirk­wood stands out in the pack, the tall tim­ber al­ready in pen­cil for Otago’s elite age group pro­grams. Cap­tain and open­side Rory Fer­gu­son is also back for his last year at school and leads the team with his ath­leti­cism and tech­ni­cal abil­ity. An out­stand­ing sports­man to keep an eye on in the next few years, his char­ac­ter is echoed through­out the team with coach Mike Idour full of be­lief in his side’s men­tal strength and per­sis­tence. This was a huge fac­tor in their suc­cess last year and JMC’s de­fence will once again be the key­stone to go­ing back-to-back in 2016. They’ll also want an­other crack at na­tional Top 4 qual­i­fi­ca­tion af­ter their close loss to South­land Boys’.

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