About 16 players from the 2023 Otago Rugby squad headed out of the big smoke and into the paddocks on Monday for a taste of the high life in Lochindorb, between Clinton and Owaka.
Gumboots were pulled on as the players learned about the rural life on Susan and Rodger Landels’ farm.
Activities included crutching rams, backing a motorbike with a trailer attached between cones, putting up an electric fence and man-dog trials.
Expert locals came along to give the players a hand and teach them the basics — and to teach them how to go about chasing down a runaway ram when you were busy trying to crutch another.
Player development manager Amanda Slade said the day was a ‘‘fantastic’’ way for the players to connect with their communities.
‘‘It was an awesome idea we all kind of formed together to get the boys connecting with their fan base, where many are rural fans,’’ she said.
‘‘It also gives the boys a taster of ‘pasture to the plate’ in a way. They get to work together and have a bit of competition off the field.’’
Co-captain Sam Gilbert said the day was a good opportunity for the group to get ‘‘out and about’’.
‘‘I guess for some of the boys . . . [it is something] they haven’t experienced before, but it’s pretty cool there’s a lot of people who do it every day so it’s good for the boys to get out there and get their hands dirty, knees dirty and get stuck into a few things that put them out of their comfort zones.
‘‘To give this a go as a group is really cool as well because we learn more about each other, which helps to make us stronger on the field.’’
Player Harry Taylor said backing the trailers and dragging the rams out to be crutched were ‘‘quite difficult tasks’’, but he had ‘‘good fun’’.