Around the Grounds Round 2

Competition games make welcome return

After a long Covid-19 enforced break competition rugby returns this week with all grades in action. The Premier 1 and Premier 2 competitions pick up from where they left off while all other grades will see their season begin.
Seven teams will contest the Premier 3 competition, seven clubs a represented in the Massey Cup U21 grade and nine sides will comprise the U85kg competition this season.

Helping hand
The Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union helped out struggling clubs during the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown by organising a heap of cleaning and sanitizing equipment to assist in the return to play.
Grateful clubs received the assistance courtesy of the Union and Fluid Chemicals NZ.

North v South concept gets approval
A North v South representative fixture is close to being confirmed with Steelers coach Tai Lavea and some clubs very keen to see the concept become reality later this season.
The fixture would promote the natural rivalry between the northern and southern clubs while also serving as a meaningful game for Steelers hopefuls that are on the fringe of Mitre 10 Cup selection.
Details are yet to be confirmed but watch this space.

Legend passes on
Legendary Steelers front rower Henry Maxwell sadly passed away during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The popular Manurewa player and coach was highly respected around the union and was one of a handful of Steelers to have played 100 games for the province.
Condolences go out to Henry’s family and friends – he will be sorely missed.

Rivalries set to spark with changes
A high number of club transfers have taken place during the lockdown period meaning a number of players will be lining up against former teams when competition resumes this week.
There is plenty of chat floating around as players and teams seek to prove a point. It should add to the occasion.

Managers confirmed for Steelers and Heat
Dale Tucker has been confirmed as the Steelers manager for the 2020 season, adding to his operations role within the union.
Meanwhile Scott Penney will serve as manager of the Heat this season while also continuing to fulfil his commercial manager position.
The appointments are part of a plan to get the best use out of union employees in the wake of Covid-19.
Both appointments were well received by the clubs.

Comeback on the cards
Which local club personality has dropped some weight during lockdown and is close to a playing comeback more than 15 years since his last competitive game? He isn’t likely to feature on a Premier 1 field however.
The player in question isn’t shy of talking about it so keep an eye out to see if he sticks to his word.

New life member
Long-serving Bombay administrator Owen Paul was awarded life membership at the recent Counties Manukau Rugby Union AGM.
Paul has been a tremendous servant to the game as a player and administrator and was recently the long-time chair of the Council of Delegates.
Former Steelers player Gary Millington and Ardmore Marist delegate and new vice chair of the CODs Glenn Flavell have become board members.

A new feature to club rugby coverage this season will be the Round the Grounds news story published each Thursday. We will give you the latest from the rumour mill as well as breaking stories and things that may be missed by traditional news outlets.
The column is supported by Counties Manukau Rugby but the individual stories are not official communication from the union and remain the responsibility of the author.
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