Flu, injuries make Sth Canty default
Marlborough rugby coach Steve Crockett was annoyed and his South Canterbury counter-part Gerard Scott was apologetic following the southerners' unprecedented default of yesterday's scheduled representative match between the two teams at Manderville.
South Canterbury informed Marlborough just after Tuesday night's training run that they could not field a team due to injuries and illness. Crockett was not amused, having his own issues trying to get a competitive side together for similar reasons.
"Very much annoyed. You don't know their circumstances but we were in a similar situation. I was ringing players last night [Tuesday] and we had actually brought in five new caps and I felt sorry for them when the match was cancelled.
"We pulled three players into the squad at the last minute and showed we had some depth. They were all as keen as mustard.
"These guys wanted to front up. Daniel Hawkins was a good example. He's battling to get on the field due to injury but was doing everything he could to do that."
Crockett felt it was an opportunity for South Canterbury to show they had some depth and was very surprised they could not put a team together even if it was depleted.
"I can't recall another default at this level involving us. It is, after all, provincial representative rugby."
Crockett said the cancellation means he won't get an opportunity to see some of his fringe players at rep level in a game situation but he plans to ramp up competition for places at trainings without working them too hard as club play-offs loom.
Marlborough Rugby Sub-Union manager Gareth Waldrom said he did all he could to convince South Canterbury to front but to no avail.
South Canterbury coach Scott said he had no choice but to default. "The main reason was we just could not field a team. We played a game last month and since then we have lost 18 players through injury. We've had a crazy run. Even with that we still had a competitive side as of Tuesday.
"We just needed two more backs, but on Tuesday night two more players pulled out. The flu has ripped through some clubs down here, then three more were injured at Tuesday club training."
The Marlborough match was to be an important part of South Canterbury's Heartland competition build-up . Scott said that even if they had been able to get 18 or 19 players together they still would have fronted. He even went around the clubs on Tuesday trying in vain to fill the gaps.
"Hopefully, Marlborough will have us back for a game next year," he said.
The Red Devils' next match is a Seddon Shield defence against Buller on Saturday, August 4, at Lansdowne Park.
- The Marlborough Express