The Coffs Coast Advocate

Equal opportunity

COFFS Rugby has made the final step toward equal teams in the 2009 Mid North Coast Rugby competition.

Two interim squads have been chosen with key names evident in both.

President Matt Quirk said Coffs Rugby had done well in the off-season with new recruits and ex-players returning, meaning more than 50 participants squeezed onto the training field most nights.

“Both teams have a wealth of talent and the up-and-coming players will benefit from the run in first grade,” he said.

Key players in the Crushers, coached by Rob Hoy, are Matt Hoy, Craig Pow, Will Guest, Kevin Simpson, Craig Landrigan, Damien Punch, Vilise Vatuvili, Brendan Hoy, Angus Garland and Cameron Wainright

The Breakers, coached by Paul Butcher and Nick Joyce, have Tim Metcher, Dylan Hurley, Lachlan Chubb, Dan Bavister, Ben Wallace, Leith Vaughan, Andrew Lynn and Matt Kent.

“The key match ups will make it a real contest,” said Quirk.

“Having Matt Hoy and Pow against Metcher and Joyce at prop, is just the start.

“Think about Hurley on Guest (fullback), Wallace versus Simpson (fly half), Bavister and Landrigan (locks), Punch taking on Walton (scrum half), and a fantastic contest develops.”

Other key match-ups include open-side flankers Vatuvili and Lynn, inside centres Vaughan and Brendan Hoy, and hookers Wainright and Chubb.

Both teams still train together on Tuesday but go separate ways on Thursday night.

Quirk recommended an eye be kept on Fijian flanker Vilise 'Billy' Vatuvili, who was an exciting discovery from the Crescent Heads Sevens and Forster Tens.

“We have yet to see most of the other new guys in action but we will see it over the next few weeks during the trials - they look very good though,” Quirk added.

First trial is at Grafton on Saturday week (March 21) as a combined first-grade outfit, plus under-19s, to give selectors an opportunity to have a look at the new players and also let the boys get used to playing again.

Both sides then play at home as individual teams on Saturday, March 28, when Breakers take on Alstonville at 5.30pm, followed by Crushers against Grafton at 6.45pm.

Meanwhile, premiers Port Macquarie have spread their overseas recruitment net wider and signed 23-year-old English forward, Mike Myerscough, to replace retired club captain and lineout specialist, Peter Besseling.

Currently contracted to Bath, the 192cm and 100kg Myerscough is due to represent English Counties against France at Twickenham this weekend, before flying out to join the Pirates in early April.

He's previously represented England in under 18s and 19s and was a member of his country's Sevens team at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

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