Rugby: Fears out of depth Tuis could be axed

By Shane Hurndell


 Tuis women's rugby coach Arthur Brown will understand if his side is axed from next year's NPC.

"It could be a case of taking one step backwards to go a couple of steps forward in the future," Brown said.

He was commenting on rumours and texts circulating throughout the Bay's rugby fraternity suggesting the Tuis won't be playing in the NPC next year. The Hawke's Bay union has yet to make an official decision on the Tuis future.

Brown and his assistant coach Steve Woods had their end of season review with the union this week. We have to be realistic.

"We were well off the pace this season ... we weren't big enough and we weren't fast enough," Brown said as he reflected on the Tuis winless season of six NPC matches and two pre-season fixtures.

"We had similar talent to last year's Tuis but other teams have improved and taken off compared with us. Obviously if the Tuis are pulled it won't be ideal for the up and coming players coming through. But it might be better than getting thrashed by 80 and 90 points by the likes of Auckland and Canterbury."

Brown pointed out if the Tuis didn't play in the NPC there was a chance a team would still be selected and play games.

"Hopefully we could play at least five games ... start with Manawatu and end with Manawatu so we could gauge the improvement."

He has heard suggestions women's rugby in Hawke's Bay should be just just focused on Sevens because Sevens is an Olympics sport. But he doesn't agree with those views.

"Sevens would rule out tight five players. Rugby should be available to players of all body shapes ... our schoolgirl rugby has come too far to put 15-a-side rugby aside."

Clive women's coach and former long-serving Tuis coach and player Cheryl Heremia said concerned players and parents will meet at the old Hastings Rugby and Sports clubrooms at Elwood Park from 10am tomorrow.

"People want an opportunity to hear what is going on and raise concerns," Heremia said.

One of her concerns is if the Tuis are withdrawn from the NPC they may have to wait too long before they are allowed back in.

Long-serving Tui Chanel Huddleston will chair the meeting.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union CEO Mike Bishop stressed a decision on whether or not the Tuis will be in next year's NPC is still a long way off and his club competition manager Gary Macdonald will attend the meeting only to discuss the club rugby aspect.

"If there are any other topics on the agenda those organising the meeting should come and talk to us about it," Bishop added.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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