Former All White Glen Collins has hung up his rugby boots to return to winter league football.
Collins – who will play for Canterbury United in tomorrow's New Zealand Football Championships semifinal – has spent the last five years at first five-eighth for the Sumner rugby team.
He helped the club win promotion to division one rugby this year and initially intended to strap on his rugby boots again.
But he has decided to return to play for Ferrymead Bays in the Mainland premier league.
" I think I was going to end up playing division two [rugby] because the club has got some guns from England coming in my position."
Collins, 32, quipped that the physicality of the average division one player was "also a weighing factor".
"They're three times the size of me."
He said he had enjoyed his NZFC return with Canterbury and was looking forward to "a huge game" against defending champions Auckland City at English Park. "They are beatable and we're pretty comfortable going in."
Collins played for Ferrymead before his code switch and said the Barnett Park club was looking to get a bit of experience to augment its crop of young players.
The Canterbury United players will not be involved in the early rounds of the Mainland premier league. The campaign kicks off this weekend but Woolston Technical, Nomads United and Western have dispensations because of the number of their players involved in the Canterbury NZFC and National Youth League teams' playoffs series.
Woolston Tech have signed former Tranmere United apprentice professional Ryan Tippett. The 31-year-old striker played in Tranmere's youth and reserve teams, serving his apprenticeship alongside Wigan premier league player Jason Koumas, Clint Hill (Crystal Palace) and Stoke City goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.
He spent half a season in Barrow's northern league champion team in 1998.
Tippett, who "spent half my life in Guernsey and the other half in Liverpool", returned to play in the Channel Islands before moving to Australia.
He helped Gold Coast City win the Queensland premier league in the 2005-06 season. After several seasons there he returned to Guernsey and arrived in Christchurch recently.
Tippett said he was recommended to Woolston Tech coach Keith Braithwaite by former All White Keith Garland who now coaches on the Gold Coast.
In other major MPL player movements, Otago United NZFC midfielder Stuart Kelly has shifted to Christchurch United from Burnside.
Canterbury United squad members Tom Lancaster (Tech), Matt Boyd (Western) and Jordan Buchanan (Nomads) are heading overseas.
Burnside have gained Atilio Bruito, a striker from the Australian state league, Josh Smith, goalkeeper Nathan Roberts and Dominic Milne from Manawatu.
Nelson Suburbs still have their hotline to Honiara with Haddis Aengari returning from the Solomon Islands with compatriots Jerry Donga and Casper Aengari.
Matt Ayloff is back home from Ferrymead Bays and classy goalkeeper Eddie Newman will be back for a second season. Former All White Paul Brydon will be assisting head coach John Slotemaker, who takes over from Brydon's brother John.
- The Press
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