In the last of our weekly previews, rugby correspondent Francis Parker casts his eye over the form and makes some predictions for the coming Southern Region competition. This week: Clutha Valley and Heriot and Clutha and Crescent (page 10).
CLUTHA VALLEY RFC (Condors)
2021 finished – First
Last Champions – 2021
Predicted 2022 finish – Third
Season preview :› Clutha Valley carries over its 14›match winning streak into this season which will bring added pressure. A couple of key departures in the backline will test the depth and rumours are that a couple more players named in the below squad are also yet to make an appearance at training. If these players are also absent, then Valley’s depth will be tested further. However, it should still be the benchmark side again this season. Will it be able to match the excitement and jubilation of last year though?
Coaches – Craig Hyslop & Clint McIvor
Assistant Coach – Aaron Gouman
Manager – Jason Rutter
Medic – Mark Calder
Captain – Jordan Willocks
Player gains — N/A
Player losses — Hamish Wilson, Reece Johnston, Te Rangi Broughton, Lachie Moore, Sean Aitken›Boyle, Daymon Shanks, Brayden Whyte.
Forwards — Adam Turnbull, Jack Pringle, Liam Turnbull, Sam Sharpe, Reid Benge, Lachie Gunson, Craig Darling, Scott Gouman, Mike Blair, Josh Botting, Kyle Forbes, George Rutter, Damian Wilson, Conrad Williams, Maurice Tairua, Cody Storer, Mat Anderson.
Backs — Jared Edwards, Thomas Johnson, Brayden Wilson, Bineati Teriuea, Jayden Dovey, Jordan Willocks, Logan Wilson, Todd McCammon, Jonny Sargent. Players to watch — Liam Turnbull, Lachie Gunson, Jordan Willocks, Thomas Johnson.
HERIOT RFC (Death Valley Boys)
2021 finished – Fourth Last Champions – 2013 Predicted 2022 finish – First Season preview – Heriot has been building steadily for the past few seasons and showed its ability more often than not. In 2021 the DVBs were extremely competitive before falling short in the semifinal to the eventual winners, Clutha Valley. It has recruited well over the summer and has introduced some exciting new talent to an already impressive squad. One of the favourites this year for sure. It hosts Valley in round one of the competition proper so we will see its full credentials then.
Coaches – Matt Saunders, Craig Stanway & AJ Aitken
Manager – John McHutchon
Medic – Pip Standish
Captain — TBC
Player gains — Nathan Rhind, Sam Galbraith, Lachlan Dudin, Jack Thom, Johnny Thomson, Pete Aitken, Sam Dodunski, Joshua Reid, Connor McKenzie, Cam Morris.
Player Losses — Bradley Bryant, Maarten Wagenaar, Todd Lee, Lockie Brenssell, Aaron Elliott, Curtis Pannett, Matt Standish, Billy Blair, Caine Ritchie, Pete Willis.
Forwards — Ben Millar, Nathan Rhind, Neta Masunu Utumapu, Dylan Mackenzie, Blair Young, Andrew Metherell, Sam Galbraith, James Edgar, Tom Davies, Lachlan Dudin, Tyson Adams, Elliott Hancox, Nick Hayes, Tom Fraser.
Backs — Ethan Jane, Jack Thom, Johnny Thomson, Logan Cornish, Pete Aitken, Sam Dodunski, Mark McKenzie, Clayton Buchanan, Joshua Reid, Connor McKenzie, Cam Morris, Ethan Pryde.
Players to watch – Ben Millar, Nick Hayes, Logan Cornish, Mark McKenzie.
CLUTHA RFC (Steamers)
2021 finished – Third
Last Champions – 2019
Predicted 2002 finish – Second
Season preview — Two seasons in a row now without a finals appearance for Clutha. It will be determined to find its way back to the top of the table. It has recruited well and has a nice balance between youth and experience. Its set pieces should be competitive, and it will be hard to crack on defence. Clutha is one of the favourites in my opinion.
Coach – Simon Grant
Assistant Coach – Tyler Bichan
Manager – Nigel Pennell
Trainer – Kemp Skipper
Medic – TBC
Captain › TBC
Player gains — Scott Hollows, Tate Colley, Oceania Ioane, Dante Macvey, Jack Dent, Jimmy Beck, Tyler Bichan.
Player losses — Jacques Breet, Matt Barton, Sene Te’o, Connor Mills, Cullen Crossan, Dallas Kupa›Pickering, Sam Viliamu,
Squad: Forwards — Ethyn Shanks, Max Pennell, Kurt Turnbull, Phill Keighley, Scott Hollows, Bax Colley, Daniel Miller, Dan Groen, Junior Meafua, Josh Turnbull, Kael Merrett, Tate Colley, Tyler Brouwer, Tyler Haua.
Backs — Sylvester Reeves, Jared Willocks, Ollie Kenny, Steve Barlow, Robin Fesilafai, Jamie Brown, Oceania Ioane, Dante Macvey, Jack Dent, Jimmy Beck, Michael Papali’i, Kane Teunissen, Tyler Bichan.
Players to watch — Bax Colley, Kael Merrett, Jamie Brown, Jimmy Beck.
CRESCENT RFC (Coal Miners)
2021 finished – Fifth
Last Champions – 2006
Predicted 2022 finish – Fourth
Season Preview – Crescent fell short of the mark last year by its standards. It won the bottom four trophy which will be little consolation. Its squad this season has lost some experience in the pack, but there is no reason why it can’t feature in the semifinals. The thirst to improve individually and as a team continues each year for Crescent, it will achieve its goal of winning the competition in the near future, will it be this year?
Coach – Naylor Edwards
Manager – Tin Smith
Assistant Manager – Kurt Allan
Medic – Kevin Sutton
Captains – Josh Cook & Andy Carruthers
Player gains — Rico Marshall, Layton Lowery, Lachy O’Hara, AJ Kell, Clayton Cochrane.
Player losses — Kurt Allan, Damian Green, Alan Anderson, Luc Thomson.
Forwards — Lester Papali’i, Fyn Edwards, Rico Marshall, Logan Mackie, Andrew Carruthers, Aydan Edwards, Layton Lowery, Brendan Irwin, Ockert Alberts, Mafi Demont, Jamahl Little, Joe Skipps, Liam Sell, Nick McBride, Callum Craik, Josh Cook, Lachy O’Hara, AJ Kell, Logan Morrell, Aidan Hight.
Backs — Harley McHardy, Chase Owen, Ethan Edwards, Kieran Fitzgerald, Mananui Keane, Nico Burgess, Kobe Thomson, Clayton Cochrane, Jackson Cook, Brae Tourell, Gene McHardy, MacKenzie Storer, William Casey.
Players to watch – Andy Carruthers, Josh Cook, Chase Owen, Ethan Edwards.