From the rucks

By Dave Morrison

IT will be all hands on deck next weekend, May 6-7, when Grafton hosts the Country Rugby Titles in Under-14s and -15s.

It is a big event, with close to 400 players from all Country zones contesting the two age divisions, and one that the Redmen as hosts will need plenty of help to make them run smoothly.

A bye in the senior grades will help but as many parents of local juniors as possible will be required, especially as funds raised at the carnival will go towards the Junior Redmen tour to New Zealand in October this year.

Junior sports can at times be more of a free baby sitting service, but hopefully the Redmen junior supporters will show otherwise.

nPLENTY of money going around in Australian Rugby circles at present and it has to be a worry for the future of the sport.

I just can't see how the sport can afford the Giteau-type money being affordable in the long term.

Also of concern is the big money being touted for another league centre, Mark Gasnier.

Remember what the Waratahs did to Scott Staniforth, the then form winger of the Super 12s.

They shunted him off the England while they pursued a number of League recruits, most who have now been forgotten.

The same Scott Staniforth is probably the form inside centre of the Australian provinces, but playing for a different shade of blue in Perth.

Will we learn? I don't think so.

nTHE Coopers Far North Coast Competition has already thrown up it's fair share of surprises in the opening three rounds, with the three sides that missed last years semis now in the top four and perennial heavyweights, Ballina and Lismore, with just one win between them.

It's a long season and I'd not write Ballina off just yet, they will always ease themselves into the season, just like last year.

Once more, the evenness makes for an interesting competition, but hard to pick.

This week, two form sides, University and Yamba meet in Lismore and it's hard to look past the Buccaneers great win over Ballina last week.

Their test will be to travel and this might be a really crucial game for their season. I'll tip them to get by, just.

A near bottom of the table clash at Ballina between the Seahorses and Lismore seems a bit bizarre, but the home side to bounce back resoundingly.

Lennox continue their learning curve against Casino and will benefit from being at home, but it's still too early for them.

The table-topping Mighty River Redmen host new chums, Tweed, who are largely an unknown quantity.

Results suggest the visitors will struggle but they shouldn't be under estimated.

Wollongbar has the bye.



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