The Timaru Herald

Historic South Canterbury clubs man up for new season

- Chris Tobin

South Canterbury senior rugby kicked off on Saturday with a revitalise­d competitio­n.

Last season two clubs, Geraldine and Old Boys, struggled to field senior sides forcing them to link up and play as Geraldine-Old Boys, a major disappoint­ment for Geraldine in their 125th Jubilee year.

In the 2022 season, Old Boys withdrew entirely, defaulting and loaning several players to Geraldine.

These situations have now been averted with both clubs having their own senior teams in the competitio­n, which also meant a bye week, as happened last season, would be avoided.

“We’re pleased to see both clubs have got A and B teams this year,“South Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Tim HydeSmith said.

“A lot of recruiting went on, getting players out of retirement and some have been encouraged to come from overseas.”

Hyde-Smith said not just Geraldine and Old Boys had overseas players in their ranks. All other clubs had recent arrivals also.

The draw was not a kind one to herald Geraldine and Old Boys’ return on Saturday. Geraldine came up against Hamersley Cup titleholde­rs, Temuka, and lost 40-10 despite a solid effort.

Old Boys had a similarly difficult challenge, facing last season’s beaten Hamersley Cup finalists, Waimate, and lost by a similar margin, 47-10.

Big winners on Saturday were Harlequins who handed Timaru rivals Celtic, Hamersley Cup champions in 2022, a 50-10 hiding.

In the final senior match, Pleasant Point launched their season with a 27-20 victory over Mackenzie.

In this Saturday’s matches Harlequins play Waimate on their home ground, Temuka face Pleasant Point away, Celtic travel to Fairlie to play Mackenzie and former comrades in arms, Old Boys and Geraldine clash at School Park in Timaru.

 ?? AIMAN AMERUL MUNER/THE TIMARU HERALD ?? Geraldine/Old Boys celebrate a victory over Pleasant Point during Geraldine’s 125th jubilee last season. Both clubs will field their own senior team this eason.
AIMAN AMERUL MUNER/THE TIMARU HERALD Geraldine/Old Boys celebrate a victory over Pleasant Point during Geraldine’s 125th jubilee last season. Both clubs will field their own senior team this eason.

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