Blenheim could get taste of footy finals
In the past five years, Canterbury have been the only other team to make it to the semi-finals each year.
Lewis said the continued success of the province had been a ‘‘marvellous achievement’’.
‘‘Most teams that have come up from the championship get relegated the next year, which happened with Manawatu¯ [in 2015] and Hawke’s Bay [in 2016].’’
Lewis said the success had been testament to strong leadership and player development.
‘‘We’ve had good leadership on all fronts, from the board, management and staff through to the coaches and players.’’
‘‘In 2015 we convinced the Crusaders to open up an academy here ... since then I think the recruitment and player development has been unsurpassed in New Zealand.
‘‘Just looking at the match played on Thursday, during the last 20 minutes, we had 11 local club players playing out on the field.’’