Star winger will not cost union anything – Football News

Star winger will not cost union anything

All Black winger Sevu Reece instigated the move to Southland and it will come at no cost to the southern union.

In something of a surprising move, it was announced on Thursday the Fijian flyer had inked a two-year deal to stay with New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders. But he would move to Southland for the next two years to play for the Southland national provincial championship side.

It raised the eyebrows of many and the question why Southland was signing All Blacks who may never play for the union when it is playing at a ground which needs repairs and has an uncertain future.

Rugby Southland chairman Murray Brown said as Reece was an All Black he would not have to be paid by Rugby Southland.

The ground was owned by the Invercargill City Council. The ground had been under the spotlight lately as it needed repairs and council raised doubts whether it was worthwhile putting significant money into the stadium.

Mr Brown said Reece wanted to move to Southland as his partner Kiri came from the area and her family still lived in the South.

“Sure, people would have doubts if we brought him down and that meant we could not afford another player but that is not the case. The way it works, he will be paid by the All Blacks for the first year,” Brown said.

“But I think it is great he is coming down. He may not play much, who knows, but we may get him for a game or two, and that will hopefully drag a few more into the ground. He will be able to lend his expertise to the guys at training and help out.”

Reece, who missed most of last year because of a knee injury, is expected to be named in the All Black squad on Monday.

The plan was for Reece to link with schools, stakeholders and sponsors, targeting the teenage bracket to keep them involved in the game, Mr Brown said.

On Rugby Park, Mr Reece said a working party to look into the ground was planned to meet over the next couple of weeks.

It had been widened to also look at the future use of Oreti Park.

Mr Brown said the union needed to have a serious look at Oreti Park and its future use.

The park, on the south side of Invercargill, had many fields and a sand base which held up well in the winter.

“It is a ground and facility we need to have a look at. We are having 36 games out there tomorrow [Saturday] and it is underrated in what it brings to us. It is good for schoolboys, high schools and club games.

“Last year the weather was a bit better but this year we have had a bit more rain and some of the grounds cut up quite quickly. It doesn’t take long. And Oreti Park is a good option.”

Les George Oval is the main ground at Oreti Park and Mr Brown said though there was a lot of work to be done and money would have to be spent on it, NPC games involving the Southland NPC side could play games there.

There would have to be major improvements such as more seating, changing sheds and better facilities but it could be possible.

He described these solutions as not insurmountable.

The union has appointed Hua Tamariki as its new chief executive.

He was a former community rugby manager at the union.

He takes over from Steve Mitchell, who moved to the chief executive role at the Tasman union.

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