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Luisetti Seeds Country Rugby
Glenmark remain the team to beat in Division 1 in North Canterbury with a 29-23 win against Ashley last weekend to retain the Deans Shield.
Glenmark started the season slowly but have been outstanding in recent weeks and must now be favoured to take out the North Canterbury title.
In other matches in North Canterbury last weekend, Oxford proved too strong for Kaiapoi 38-6. Oxford are another side who have had their ups and down this season with their season highlight being their away win against Luisetti Seeds Combined Country champions Southbridge. Saracens meanwhile continued their fine form with a 20-12 win over Ohoka.
Meanwhile in the Division 2 semi-finals last weekend it was Hurunui that beat Amberley 41-7 and Saracens that beat Woodend 11-3. In the Reserve semi-finals Ashley beat Kaiapoi 17-6 while Saracens beat Ohoka 32-14.
In Ellesmere it was Lincoln who won bragging rights over Southbridge, the red and blacks winning 29-22. This win might be seen as pay-back for losing the Luisetti Seeds Combined Country final but it will only by winning the Coleman Shield next month will Lincoln feel fully vindicated.
In other matches in Ellesmere last weekend, Waihora beat Burnham 49-9, Dunsandel/Irwell defeated Prebbleton 27-13 while West Melton beat Darfield 18-7.
The Canterbury Country programme will get underway next month and co-coach Wayne Gugich says his players have some top match-ups to look forward to.
New Country coaches Gugich and Mark Treweek have had to manage the unavailability of some top players (and potential captains) and some form issues.
“We have met once so far but we won’t start training until next week,” Gugich says. “It is really important that we give the clubs the
This season Canterbury Country has what can only be described as a truly mouth-watering itinerary. They take on Metro Colts before playing the Canterbury Maoris, then Metro in their traditional match. They then head south and meet Southland Country and Otago Country before taking on Tasman B to round-off their regular season.
“It’s only one step removed from NPC rugby,” Gugich admits, “and our players have much to look forward to.”
As always it will be Country’s match with Metro that will be season-defining. This game offers Country players with not only an opportunity to restore Country pride but also to push on for provincial selection down the track.
Gugich says that while the Country squad was pencilled in before the Southbridge Shield match, one or two selections were decided by what happened at Tai Tapu. “That said, we don’t necessarily want players who are only good for one match. We look at the consistency of player’s form throughout the regular season.”
Gugich says the unavailability of some players due to their commitments to other provincial unions, such as the West Coast and Buller, is disappointing but an opportunity for other young players to prosper at this level.
As first time coaches at this level Gugich and Treweek say they are honoured to have this opportunity. “It’s a new experience for us. Obviously as the Ellesmere coaches we were disappointed with what happened at Tai Tapu recently and losing in the last minute hurt but that’s rugby and we have moved on from it.”
Canterbury Country has produced a number of top players recently, including Crusader Joe Moody (Lincoln) and All Blacks Sevens star Sam Dickson (West Melton).
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