Buccaneers facing return to village comp

YAMBA is in the grip of a rugby union player drought and local forecasts are unclear if there is any relief in sight.

The situation is so dire the Yamba Rugby Union Club may have to resort to drastic measures.

“We don't know if we have the numbers to nominate for the Far North Coast Rugby first grade (competition),” club president Peter Campbell said.

“We may have to play in the Village competition, which is a competition for the smaller towns.”

Yamba has competed in the first grade competition for the past four years, but an exodus of young talent, coupled with the retirement of the core of the club's old guard, has the potential to end that run.

“We had a lot of young players who moved north for work or education purposes,” Campbell said.

“Even though we have six junior teams, a lot of the kids who play rugby go away eventually.”

Another problem facing the club are former players being attracted to Yamba's myriad leisure activities.

“If only we could get them off the surfboards and back on the park,” Campbell said.

“That's just one of the cultures you face down here.”

A relegation to the Village competition could see the club fall on hard times.

“The last time we were out of the competition it took us 12 to 13 years to get back to first grade standard,” Campbell said.

With the season not beginning until April 18, the club still has time to find the players needed, but the clock is ticking.

“We have a lot of work in the next two months,” Campbell said.

“We are working on what we have here, ringing around ... there might be some new people to town who are a little bit reluctant.”

Campbell said he was hopeful of finding the players so the club could remain in the more competitive first grade competition.

“We lost a few numbers last year and were only able to field one team and we came second last,” he said.

“If we played this year it wouldn't be top form, but if we stayed competitive then that would be good enough.

“If I had to have a bob each-way, I would say we would be playing Village competition.”

Meanwhile, the club has started pre-season training, with the squad being put through its paces at Turners Beach every Tuesday and Thursday at 6.30pm.

Any player who wants to join the club can contact club player spokesman Tristan Allard on 0407 463 889.

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