Sevens star relocated to Waitohi

New Tasman Makos rugby recruit Bryce Heem will play his club rugby for Crafar Crouch Waitohi for the remainder of this season, not Moutere as stated by the Tasman Rugby Union earlier this week.

The decision to send Heem to last year's championship-winning club was made by Makos coaches Kieran Keane and assistant coach Leon MacDonald in conjunction with Tasman Rugby chief executive Andrew Flexman.

Moutere defaulted their Tasman Trophy match last Saturday to Stoke due to a lack of front-rowers and MacDonald said that played a part in their decision to locate Heem at Waitohi.

"It was a tough decision and not a decision taken lightly. Bryce is the first contracted player to come to Marlborough and we don't want to leave anything to chance. Moutere are unlikely to make the semifinals and Bryce needs all the 15s rugby he can get, having played sevens recently."

MacDonald said that putting Heem with Moutere would be a risk at present because if they sustained any more injuries in their forward pack, in particular the front row, they may not be able to field a team.

"Looking forward, if we get Bryce in [with Waitohi] and he's happy there it would mean more players would be happy to come here [to Marlborough]. We are trying to do the right thing by Bryce, Marlborough and Tasman rugby."

MacDonald said they do not have any issues with Moutere and the club had been very good to deal with.

"Moutere have done everything right, but they have been decimated by injuries which is not their fault. They've got a strong club."

Heem is due to arrive in Blenheim on Sunday and will be available for Waitohi for the rest of the club season.

The 23-year-old wing/centre has been a member of Gordon Tietjens' world championship-winning New Zealand sevens team for the last two years, has played for Auckland in the ITM Cup and last season played all 10 matches for Northland in the ITM Cup, scoring five tries.

The Marlborough Express