The Swamp Hens are pumped for another season of good old-fashioned rugby.
The Owaka premier rugby team has been preparing for the season with training since February coached by Steve Sheppard and assisted by Georgia Mason.
The hens have been building themselves as a team and devising a game plan for the season. They have been working on pinpointing their skills and learning the new tackle rules as a team.
‘‘We’re chuffed to have a squad of between 32-35 players and we’re pleased to be creating some family immunity in the team,’’ Sheppard said.
‘‘We’re lucky to have a strong Samoan contingent in Owaka and we always gain and lose a few Samoan players each year. We’re aiming for a community team that remembers to have some fun on the field.
‘‘Last season we started off a bit average, but throughout the season we pulled together and got better.
‘‘This season we’ll aim to give it our all but we’ll still have fun.’’
This year the Swamp Hens are captained by Craig McCormick and Ieru Ieteu (Rambo) is their vice-captain.
The team will be managed by Regan Gillespie, and its medic/physio for the season is Rachael Landreth.
Team captain Craig McCormick comments on the season ahead.
‘‘We’ve got some new faces this season and the team is a bit different to what it has been, but we’re finding that to be positive so far. The goal for the squad is to take it week by week and learn each other some more.
‘‘Some of the players are new to the club and the culture so it’s a matter of gelling together on and off the field.
‘‘Once we grab a win we’ll be away laughing, but we’re aiming high for the top four or six, so let’s go Hens.’’
The comment from the Southern Region Rugby Facebook page said this:
‘‘Owaka have recruited heavily over the summer with plenty of fresh faces turning up at training. There is a definite Pacific Island flavour to the Swamp Hens squad this season, which will be both exciting and dangerous. Owaka are also welcoming back a couple of ex-players who have plied their trade away from South Otago for the past few seasons but are back and ready to roll. Albeit light on front rowers, Owaka’s forward pack will be mobile with plenty of players being able to play in more than one position. Owaka’s backs will be extremely dangerous on the front foot and will be able to hold their own on defence. Owaka has the second-largest squad on paper and will be hoping to finish the season that way as well.’’
The Swamp Hens are always keen to see supporters on the sideline and they’re looking forward to seeing how the season goes. Keep an eye out for their games and give Owaka Rugby the best support this season!