In the second of three weekly previews, rugby correspondent Francis Parker casts his eye over the form and makes some predictions for the coming Southern Region competition.
TOKO RFC (Axemen)
Seasonpreview:Toko heads into this season enthusiastically after a competitive pre›season. Numbers are still below par, and injuries will no doubt cause further disruption. This is a dedicated group of players keen to show their class under fantastic leadership. Their depth will be tested.
Playergains:Kieran O’Sullivan, Jerrym Frost, Zayde Francis, Jaymz Tahana, Harley Herbert.
Playerlosses:Bernie O’Sullivan, Jacob Jenkins, Matt Lyon, Hamish Toole, Levin Coulter› Butler, Taumarewa Kershaw, Jacky Scott, Damon Clement, Arnold Dinh.
Squad Forwards: Liam Kingma, Dylan Greer, Harry Greer, Kieran O’Sullivan, Kieran Calteaux, Jesse Carruthers, James Agnew, Jerrym Frost, Kaleb Hayes, Zayde Francis, Josh Beer› Williams, Michael Aitken, Jaymz Tahana.
Backs: Dion Shaw, Nic Shaw, Cody Brady, Shaun Aitken, Harley Herbert, Brad Frost, Jared Hayes, Lockie Finch, Fareni Young, Scott Anderson.
Players to watch: Kieran O’Sullivan, Dylan Greer, Brad Frost, Fareni Young.
LAWRENCE RFC (Nuggets)
2021 finished: N/A
Last champions: 2014
Predicted 2022 finish: 6th
Season preview: Lawrence return to the competition after being absent since 2018. With some help from a committed group of players from Dunedin, it has moulded together a very competitive squad. It has experience in key areas and plenty of young players looking to make a name for themselves in the Southern Region. I can’t place it in the semifinals, however, until I have seen a little more from it.
Coach:Roger Cotton and Sam Young
AssistantcoachesHayden Wyber and Ben Martin
Manager:Nigel Cowie and Brent Davidson
Medics:Brianna Clulee, Melanie Fawn, Nastassja Tairua, Libby Jones and Sam Ensor
Squad Forwards: Sam Wyber, Regan Potter, Max Homer, Oliver Renney, Fletcher Benington, Hamish Clapp, Sam Smith, Sean Roughan, Ben Martin, Ben Plunkett, Jordan Darragh›Smith, Jacob Homer, Ben Williams, Adam Wilson, Joey Blaikie, Dusty Wallace, Byron Aitken.
Backs: James Craig, Logan Bain, Ryan Banks, Hayden Wyber, Pete Willis, Oscar Goodlet, Taylor Homer, Liam Homer, Caine Ritchie, Tim Dickey, Sam Cross.
Players to watch: Sam Wyber, Max Homer, Ryan Banks, Oscar Goodlet.
BIG RIVER COUNTRY (BRC)
Predicted 2022 finish: 1st
Season preview: Numbers have been healthy at BRC trainings this season as it approaches the start of its campaign. A few new teams have entered the Premier Women’s competition, so expect the challenge to be equally as strong as last year. Our girls will be ready and wanting to go one better than last year.
Coaches:Allan Thomson and Tony Pringle
Playergains:Stacey Brenssell, Abby Edwards, Jasmine Clark, Millicent Geary, Tayla Hannah, Shelby Johnston, Nadia Lyders, Irie Rickus, Kayla Dent, Sasha Scott, Kaylee Peoples.
Playerlosses:Briana Clulee, Liz Murphy, Hope White, Emma Takapi, Jessie Bennett, Keisha Crooks, Bailey Owen, Gemma Johnson.
Squad Forwards:Stacey Brenssell, Abby Edwards, Kayley Johnson, Hannah Lome, Isla Pringle, Caitlin Shanks, Tegan Hollows, Kelsey Miller, Ashlea Forbes, Te Aroha Littlee, Paige McIvor, Shanika McKenzie, Sam Storer, Jasmine Clark, Katie Willocks.
Backs:Millicent Geary, Sam Hall, Tayla Hannah, Abbey Cochrane, Shelby Johnston, Nadia Lyders, Hope Moore, Jess Paul, Lily Pringle, Irie Rickus, Nicole Kennedy, Karen Nicolson, Samarra Soper, Kayla Dent, Sasha Scott, Kaylee Peoples.
Playerstowatch:Tegan Hollows, Kayley Johnson, Nicole Kennedy, Lily Pringle.