East Coast Premier Team

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Marlborough’s East Coast rugby clubs join forces for premier tilt in 2016

There will be a new kid on the block when Marlborough premier club rugby recommences in early 2016.

A trail-blazing team named East Coast will join Moutere, Harlequins, Renwick, Waitohi and Central in the top echelon, playing in the Marlborough competition as well as the Tasman Trophy.

The Coasters’ participation has come about through the combined efforts of the Awatere and Kaikoura clubs, who both fielded division two teams in 2015. The new premier side will be formed predominantly by players from the two clubs.

awatere   Awatere’s top players, pictured here before the 2014 premier semifinal, will get another chance in the top echelon in 2016.

Kaikoura The Kaikoura division two team celebrate their grand final success in 2015.

At the conclusion of the past season, representatives from both the Tussock Jumpers and Cray Coasters got together to formulate a plan which would enable their better players to participate in premier rugby. Recognising that neither side was strong enough to go it alone they decided to combine forces and applied to the Tasman Rugby Union for entry to premier ranks.

After a lengthy process, involving scrutiny of both clubs’ books, playing resources and plans for coaching and future financing, an East Coast premier team was given the green light. TRU chief executive Tony Lewis suggested his organisation were in the business of fostering rugby and, following due diligence, were happy to rubber stamp the new team’s participation.

“We asked both groups to complete a business plan, looking at the financials … the rationale was that the two clubs have done everything they possibly can to be competitive. It fits with our criteria of growing the game and putting on meaningful competitions, so it would be remiss of us not to give them that opportunity.

The new East Coast side will wear a playing kit similar to that worn by the Romanian Rugby World Cup 2015 side.