Andrew Rennger produced some solid defence in Coffs Rugby?s win over Kempsey Cannonballs in the opening round.
Andrew Rennger produced some solid defence in Coffs Rugby?s win over Kempsey Cannonballs in the opening round.

Elder statesman

By MITCHELL DALE

COFFS Rugby outside back Andrew Rennger doesn't mind copping the 'old man' jibes from his teammates.

Rennger, who turns 40 this year, realises he is very much the elder statesman of the Coffs Rugby backline.

But when his younger teammates remind him about his senior status, he is quick to remind them that he can still outpace most players in the club.

In Coffs' first-round victory over Kempsey last weekend, Rennger showed he still has enough toe to get outside his opposite number, scorching down the left wing to seal victory for his side.

"It's always good to show up the young blokes," he says.

"The only thing better than getting around a younger opponent would be doing that and then stepping the prop or hooker on the inside as they are trying to cover defend."

For Coffs' round two clash with Old Bar at Coffs Rugby Park today, 'old man' Rennger will move in one spot, filling NSW Country representative Kevin Simpson's number 13 jersey.

Rennger is unphased by the move in-field.

"In the 17 years that I have been playing football, I've played nearly every position apart from front row," he says.

"But I prefer to be in a running position."

Rennger's shift in-field is one of several changes made by first grade coach Paul Butcher from the side which accounted for Kempsey last week.

The scrum which completely dominated Kempsey has been boosted by the return of Mark Merchant and NSW Country prop Matt Hoy, which allow's last week's hooker, Chris Webb, to move to his preferred position at openside breakaway.

Butcher says his forwards will work on screwing the Old Bar scrum instead of going through it like they did to the Cannonballs last weekend.

"One of our big worries throughout the week has been that we might dominate too much and the refs would go to uncontested scrums," Butcher says.

"So instead of going over them, we will work on screwing it our way."

He also says the return of Webb to the side of the scrum will ensure Coffs win more ball at the breakdown.

"We definitely weren't slow (at the breakdown) last week, but we probably didn't contest as much ball as we should have," he says.

"Webby loves that side of the game and he will run his little bum off all day and steal a lot of ball for us."

Butcher will be after the full five competition points this weekend against an Old Bar side expected to struggle in its return to first grade.

"I will be disappointed if we don't get the bonus point (for scoring four or more tries)," Butcher says.

"If it comes down to a two-team race, bonus points will be very important."

Coffs Rugby: 15. Richie McGillvray, 14. Chris Picker, 13. Andrew Rennger, 12. Brendan Hoy, 11. Jay Webber, 10. Hugh Campbell, 9. Buster McCowatt, 8. Craig Landrigan, 7. Chris Webb, 6. Connor Barrett, 5. Paul Gooley, 4. Andrew Lynn, 3 Nic Joyce, 2. Mark Merchant, 1. Matt Hoy.



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