Will Magpies prop find mongrel against clock to claim kudos?

Everything going to plan, Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby prop Brendon Edmonds will collect his blazer at Sunday's aftermatch function.

"I just have to keep the mongrel up for 56 minutes," Edmonds said.

"Doogie" (Edmonds' nickname - "it's a random nickname which has stuck since I was a little kid," he explained) was referring to the new criteria for a Magpies blazer. These days a player must play 1000 minutes and until this was introduced the criteria were 20 games and previously 12.

Ironically, the Magpies eighth round ITM Cup clash against North Harbour at Napier's McLean Park tomorrow will be Edmonds' 20th first-class outing for the side since his 2011 debut against Counties-Manukau. Nobody can accuse Edmonds, 22, of not displaying enough mongrel this season.


The Havelock North club player has been the quiet achiever in the Magpies engine room. Edmonds has seldom been bettered on either side of the scrum and has impressed with his mobility around the paddock.

"I prefer loosehead but I'm happy to go to tighthead ... as long as I'm on the field," Edmonds said before yesterday's training session.

A former firewood cutter for his father's Onga Onga-based business Edmonds Transport and Earthmoving Ltd, Edmonds was quick to reply when quizzed on the secret to his increased mobility and pace this season.

"Dearnsey [Magpies fitness trainer Grant Dearns] has been pushing us around the track. I also get plenty of hunting in on our recovery days when I can ... sometimes it's tough with our tight schedules but those expeditions are good for one's fitness."

Magpies teammates Adrian Barone and Tony Lamborn have often accompanied Edmonds.

"We got a few goats the other day but have yet to get a deer this year."

Edmonds regularly travels down to Onga Onga to help his father but resists the temptation to fire up the chainsaw like he did when he wasn't a professional rugby player.

"If I could I would but you never know what a stray blade might do," Edmonds said.

Something Edmonds hopes doesn't prove as elusive as those deer in the Kaweka Ranges is a Super Rugby contract.

"I haven't had any nibbles yet but if put my hand up I might get a foot in the door," Edmonds said.

He pointed out playing for the Magpies keeps him proud.

"Winning the Ranfurly Shield game against Otago was the highlight and I get a buzz every time I run out onto McLean Park," Edmonds said.

Edmonds often consults his list of work-ons.

"I know I have to get a bit more involved. I have to provide more aggression at the breakdown and blow out the big boys in the opposing side."

While North Harbour may have had just one win, Edmonds said the Magpies won't be taking them lightly.

"We know they've got a big forward pack and we're going to have to fight to win ... it's going to be hard game."

Magpies head coach Craig Philpott will announce his team after training today. Maori All Black and Hurricanes flanker Karl Lowe is unavailable with his hamstring injury and if halfback Chris Eaton fails a fitness test on his groin strain New Zealand under-20s rep Sheridan Rangihuna will be promoted from the Hawke's Bay Under-20s side.

Philpott has labelled the match as a "must-win" affair in the Magpies' quest for a home semifinal. A victory will also be an appropriate birthday present for captain Mike Coman who turns 26 tomorrow.

Coman knows his former Magpies and Napier Old Boys' Marist teammate Tua Saseve and his North Harbour teammates will be doing their best to spoil Coman's celebrations. A Magpies victory could prove the right omen for Edmonds and co. on their next hunting trip.