Coffs Rugby loses front-rower

ONE of the great characters of New South Wales Country Rugby will be missing when the 2009 trial season gets under way in two weeks.

Coffs Harbour's towering prop forward Hugh Campbell has completed an eventful three-year assignment on the Mid North Coast but with his work contract with Abigroup at an end, has now returned to his homeland.

Club captain and former premiership-winning coach Paul Butcher said losing the amiable front-rower was a blow to many areas of the game.

Apart from his memorable exploits in the local competition, Campbell became a fixture in the Country Cockatoos representative side.

“We are struggling for props this year with Hugh moving back to Wales after the highway upgrade was finished,” Butcher said.

“Prop forwards have suddenly become a scarce item... they're now a rare species in Australia but flourishing in New Zealand and the Northern Hemisphere.

“If there are any out there looking for a run, we would be happy to try and persuade them to come along and have a game.”

All grades are training on the beach at twilight each Tuesday and Thursday until the end of this month before heading back to Park Beach Rugby Park for ball work and tactical skills training from the first week of March.

The first appearance for the year will be the Crescent Heads Sevens on February 14, followed up by the Forster Tens (March 7) and the Armidale 15's Knockout (March 14-15).

Potential trials are also lined up with Grafton, Armidale and Alstonville-Wollongbar on dates to be determined.

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