Scott stays on and sets sights on top four

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2012

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South Canterbury Heartland rugby coach Chester Scott will be back at the helm in 2013.

Scott was appointed for two seasons and had his second year rubber-stamped at the South Canterbury Rugby Union board meeting on last night.

His side made the Lochore Cup final (for fifth place) but went down to minnows Buller.

However, Scott was nobbled somewhat by the administrative blunder that saw his side docked two championship points by the New Zealand Rugby Union for fielding an ineligible player which took them out of Meads Cup top four contention after a bright start to the season.

The union accepted responsibility for the mistake, but it was tough on Scott's team that had played entertaining rugby and deserved to be fighting for the title, but instead lost momentum.

Chairman Brent Isbister said Scott had been confirmed for the second year after it carried out a review.

"We are pleased with the direction the team is going but a bit disappointed in the ultimate result. The side scored 46 tries compared to 26 in the previous season, so we are going the right way."

Isbister said Scott would confirm his assistant and management team in the coming months.

Scott said he was happy to be back at the helm and is likely to have Christchurch-based Simon Scott as his assistant again, if his business commitments allow.

"The work starts now. Of course, we would have liked better results as with all coaches. We'll get alongside the clubs and see if they can get players into the province good enough to play Heartland rugby."

Scott said one of his keys would be to ensure South Canterbury can retain as many players as possible from this year's team.

"We certainly played very well at times and our game against Poverty Bay proved that."

Scott's challenge will be to assemble such a good side again. Traditionally there are massive movements in Heartland sides year to year.

Liam Edwards was hot on attack and ended up as the Heartland Championship's top try and points scorer.

However, he is a loan player from Dunedin who was snapped up for the Otago sevens side and despite his small stature could be in line for a callup to their ITM team.

Youngster Sam Vea also impressed as a loose forward and, while he played for Harlequins, has returned home to Auckland.

Veteran flanker Eric Smith has retired after clocking up over 100 games for the province.

Dutch international Stefan Vos plugged a big gap in the locking stocks while Temuka also supplied three players to the side which they had imported for the club season.

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Scott said his goal was to qualify for the top four next year. "You get to there and then anything can happen."

Isbister said the board was set to change with Council of Club's representative Grant Gilbert indicating he would be stepping down at their next meeting early next month.

"They have two on the board, with Roy Chapman who I understand looking for re-election, but that is a democratic process so nothing is guaranteed."

Isbister said there had been no movement on the appointment of a chief executive and nothing was likely to happen until next year.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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