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Luisetti Country Representative Rugby
The senior Country representative side has begun its preparation for one of the most challenging representative seasons in its proud history new coach Steve Clark says.
While the focus of Ellesmere and North Canterbury players is currently on their respective club competitions the Country squad named is already looking ahead.
Country rugby is in a good place, Steve says. He was impressed with what he saw at Prebbleton ten days ago when Ellesmere retained the Southbridge Shield. He knows he has the players to do well this season.
Country begins its programme in the middle of August with a match against Southland Country. They then compete in the Top of the South competition, taking on Tasman B, Canterbury Colts, Metro (for the Craw Shield) and Canterbury Maori before their annual match against Otago Country. If they do well in the Top of the South competition they will play a semi-final against one of the top two teams in the Bottom of the South competition.
All in all it is a competitive programme for Country and something that can be used as a springboard to the full Canterbury team. “It really does give our guys the opportunity to progress their rugby,” says Steve (who is coaching with former All Black John Mills).
Right now though the challenge for the Country coaches is making sure their players don’t get burnt out. They will train sparingly before letting the players focus on their respective club semi-finals and finals.
Steve says the focus this season will be doing things differently. That means having the same outcome goal (winning) but thinking as one in different situations.
“We all have to be on the same sheet,” Steve says. “We have got some real experience in our management team and with our players and so we need to use that.”
To that end Steve says Country will be playing the way that Country sides have traditionally played. “That means that we won’t be just moving the ball from side to side. We will embrace confrontation as we always have.”
Steve says that players like Sam Dickson (who has been named in the wider ITM Cup training squad) show that there is a career path for players from Country.
Canterbury Country Squad 2012: Jess Alford (West Melton); Hayden Annand (Dunsandel/Irwell); David Bennett (Waihora); William Broughton (Waihora); Sam Dickson (Captain) West Melton; Shannon Donald (Southbridge); Lyndon Dunshea (Lincoln); Robert Ferguson (West Melton) Nick Fisher (Darfield); Corrie Gibb (Dunsandel/Irwell); Sam Groundwater (Darfield); Ricki Kennett (Kaiapoi); Tony Ilston (Oxford); Daryl Lamborn (Dunsandel/Irwell); William McGoon (Southbridge); Peni Manumanuilwa (Southbridge); Tauia MacDonald(Kaiapoi); Scott McIroy (Darfield); Brad McKenzie (Darfield); Kevin O’Neill (Hurunui); Adam Oorschot (Southbridge); Bayden Phillips (Oxford); Sam Prosser (Burnham); Will Sellwood (Oxford); Michael Sheat (Southbridge); Logan Telfer (Oxford); Ray Tuiletufaga (Burnham); James Tyson (Kaiapoi); Michael Werihiko (Lincoln)
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