Job cuts in bid to balance books

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 25/10/2012

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Keith Crothers and Kelly Hansen have lost their jobs as part of the latest review into Rugby Southland's finances.

Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley was tasked with shaving about $100,000 from the union's budget as more pressure came to bear in a difficult financial climate.

While that review will be completed towards the end of this month, Crothers, whose roles included club rugby manager and referee education, and Hansen, the union's development officer, have been let go, Hopley confirmed.

Just how their positions will be covered is being worked out now.

Hopley is in talks with the New Zealand Rugby Union, while he will also be in consultation with the Council of Rugby Clubs - the body which now oversees the running of the game at the amateur level in Southland - about the best way that rugby can be delivered at club level.

"We won't be neglecting community rugby, that's for sure," Hopley said.

Matt Saunders, who has retired from playing for the Stags, could have his marketing and development roles widened, while other jobs previously covered by Crothers and Hansen may be filled on a part-time basis.

A review of the Stags season is also under way, albeit with the thoughts of the union still on Hoani Macdonald as he recovers in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital after suffering cardiac arrest during Saturday's semifinal against Counties Manukau.

A questionnaire will be filled out by players, coaches and staff and all operational areas would be reviewed, Hopley said.

The Stags finished the season placed fourth in the NPC's championship, with four wins from seven starts. The season review would be finished before the end of November.

The end of this season marks the end of some long-term player contracts which have put significant pressure on the union's finances.

Rugby Southland's wage bill is expected to drop from $1.2 million to about $800,000 next season.

The departure of Jimmy and Scott Cowan, among others, would ease that situation, along with the renegotiation of terms for players coming off contract, including Robbie Robinson.

Meanwhile, Southland rugby followers who want to pass on their support to Macdonald can do so through a book available at Rugby Southland's Rugby Park office.

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- The Southland Times

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