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Location, not cash, SC's loan player headache

Location, not cash, SC’s loan player headache

STU PIDDINGTON

Last updated 05:00 23/08/2014

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The South Canterbury Rugby Union is happy to fund loan players on a case-by-case basis but the problem is location not money, according to chairman Brent Isbister.

Heartland coach Chester Scott has struggled to secure quality players this season and it appears money is a major sticking point.

Isbister said there was no “set in stone budget” for loan players.

“Board policy is that funding requests will be considered on their merits. The board have an open mind on loan players.”

The Heartland team management had discussed loan player funding with the union but there have been no specific requests as yet, he said.

“The potential player needs to be significantly better than what we have here already and at a reimbursement that is affordable and meets competition rules.

“Sometimes it is not easy to find that combination.”

Isbister said funding requests are also balanced between the need to fund community rugby and the desire to be a leading Heartland union.

The budget for running the 2014 campaign is $145,000. The Herald understands less than $4000 of that is targeted on loan players. Competition rules allow three plus a “player of origin”.

Isbister said money was often not the issue.

“Our location, two hours drive from Christchurch and Dunedin, for practice and games being a key impediment, as an example.

Isbister did not necessarily believe the provinces with the best loan players won.

“I wouldn’t agree every year that is the case but I would agree it is becoming more important.

“It was important when East Coast won [in 2012] but has had long-term financial ramifications for them.”

Isbister said ideally South Canterbury would field a winning team of locally grown players.

“The board is reviewing its high performance strategy to that end.

“We are also implementing specific initiatives to fund the Heartland team’s fortunes in future seasons thus increasing budget flexibility.”

In the past they had run a “try time” initiative through the Heartland team with the funds being used to support them.

“This has been picked up again this season and members of the public can support the team by donating an amount per try.”

There was also a chance to win prizes, he said.

Isbister said the union is also running a “Green and Black” club targeting former representatives on a subscription basis.

Three days before the Heartland Championship kicked off Scott secured the services of two players to face Wanganui.

Cook Island international lock Simon Marcel, who plays club rugby in Auckland, has signed on.

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Englishman Angus Compton-Bowyer, a first five who played club rugby in Hawkes Bay, will make his appearance off the bench.

– The Timaru Herald

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Location, not cash, SC's loan player headache

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