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2017 Mitre 10 Heartland Season – Report

Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union

2017 Mitre 10 Heartland Season.

We would like to thank all our supporters for what has been a trying season but a necessary one as we took a fairly “bare and naked” approach to our Heartland rugby season.

We had identified after completing the 2016 season review that our local club players needed more exposure and tougher games both at club and representative level.

While there is healthy debate about the value of imported players, the reality is that 19 players from our local competition must play on any given Saturday. We have taken the view that although it would be great for the local team to win a championship based on having a few star imports, the more we get our local player experiencing top flight rugby the better it is for the talent pool locally. This goes hand in hand with the big picture which is to be in a position of winning the Heartland championship, we need to start beating the likes of Wanganui on a regular basis. We also need to ensure our local coaches get the same amount of exposure, and we believe Joe and his team are the right coaching group to lead us forward.

We had 12 new players this season, which is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately injuries to key players meant a wider group of players needed to be used.

We will be spending the coming weeks reviewing with the season, team and coaching setups. This will include consultation with Joe about certain areas that the coaches will be focusing on, which will include working on increased fitness and intensity of players by better player management and  ensuring that a tougher club competition at the back end of the season, which are areas which have been highlighted as areas where we were exposed this season.

Our aim this year was to make the top 8 – which did not happen. As far as the Union is concerned we are fully committed to the long-term strategic plan for local players by 2019.

Personally, I think there could be changes in the wind around Heartland rugby but in the short-term we have to take this season on the chin, accept our shortcomings and look forward to next year.

Tony Hargood
Chief Executive
Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union

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