Hanan Shield team a fantastic concept

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Despite not winning a game coach Wayne Kinzett is still proud of his side’s performance at the under 65kg rugby tournament in Christchurch last week.

The Hanan Shield side is a new team which was introduced this year to help make the Heartland sides more competitive. It featured eight players from North Otago.

They played two tournament games in Cromwell against Southland and Otago, before they headed to Christchurch and took on Canterbury, Nelson Bays and Canterbury Country.

Kinzett who was one of three coaches for the side along with one each from South and Mid Canterbury said it was a good tournament.

“The tournament was really good the guys played really well, and I’m a huge believer in this new Hanan Shield team; I think it’s a fantastic concept which they need to keep up.”

Making the Hanan Shield side came about after the three Heartland unions were copping hidings from the bigger provinces and they wanted to continue sending children to the tournament, so decided joining forces was a realistic option.

“It works and I’m really happy with it, the boys still get to play for their own union before the tournament which is good,” he said.

Kinzett said the Hanan Shield team matched its opponents well and other than one game none of the scores were blow-outs.

“Only the Canterbury Country game was a blowout, we lost 17-15 to Southland, 34-19 to Otago, 34-24 to Canterbury and 43-24 against Nelson Bays.”

Before the side for this tournament is selected North Otago, South Canterbury and Mid Canterbury still face each other.

The Hanan Shield side had four players nominated for the South Island team, but none made it.

Openside flanker Jacob Pledger who represented North Otago was named the side’s standout player. Lock Jack Willans also had a strong tournament.

Meanwhile, the under 48kg team which featured one player from North Otago won two games at the tournament.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

STANDOUT: Jacob Pledger of North Otago (blue headgear) makes a tackle against Canterbury Metro player. Pledger  was named the standout player for the Hanan Shield team at the tournament.