Same-day returns as South Canty cut costs
The South Canterbury Heartland rugby team is looking to come home straight after their away games this season but it has nothing to do with player behaviour.
South Canterbury Rugby Union chairman Brent Isbister said when possible the flight would bring the side back and the reason behind it was cost cutting.
"The Heartland unions across the board are doing this where possible, mainly to reduce costs where we can. One less night away, food and accommodation."
The flights are part of a sponsorship deal between Air New Zealand and the New Zealand Rugby Union, which is passed on to all Heartland unions.
Isbister said the change may also make playing for the union more attractive.
Some of the senior players prefer it because of work and family commitments, he said.
"For example we did it for Fa'aitu [Tuamoheloa] last year a couple of times as he didn't want to take the extra time off work. We also did it for John Peeters as the extra night away made it difficult for family."
Isbister said flying home the same day as the game had been happening sometimes in previous seasons for the whole team, usually out of Levin and Wairarapa and sometimes the West Coast.
"The trade-off generally is a earlier start time or less time for an aftermatch but those are the trade-offs for the competition."
The overall cost of the Heartland team was $145,475 last season.
Isbister said the expectations around behaviour remain the same as previous years.
The SCRU is still, however, awaiting the outcome of the Whanganui police Criminal Investigation Branch investigation into the alleged rape of a woman by members of the South Canterbury rugby team.
More than five months have passed since the complaint was made but police are yet to lay charges.
The union is waiting for the police to make a decision before they hold any sort of hearing into what happened.
The Timaru Herald