Last year’s Nayland College captain Kendall Hodson performs the haka before a Press Cup game. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Nayland College out of Press Cup rugby comp

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Nayland College will drop back into the local under-18 rugby competition, ending a forgettable three year stint in the Press Cup that saw the first XV win just won game.
With the likes of Mitchell Drummond starting at Nayland and then leaving for Nelson College, it was always hoped elevation into the Press Cup would allow the school to retain its best players by giving them the same opportunities as Nelson and Waimea College.
But following the remarkable 17-15 win over Waimea in 2011, Nayland never won again. Their losses had become more respectable in 2013, with close results, including an agonizing 15-10 defeat by Burnisde High School.
But insufficient player numbers resulted in two defaults and the school finished the season with just one competition point next to their name.
Nayland principal Rex Smith says the decision to withdraw from the competition was made last year. “We felt like we were struggling to compete at that level and we felt like we didn’t have the depth of players that you need to have a successful campaign,” he says.
Tasman Rugby Union development officer Kahu Marfell says it was disappointing that Nayland’s Press Cup spell hadn’t been a successful one. “They climbed into it and last year I thought they improved throughout the competition. Once they got into the bottom section, they were competitive,” he says. “But it’s a sustainability thing. You need to have the players coming through and the depth.”
Kahu believed the cost of having a first XV in the Press Cup, where they were travelling out of town nearly every second week, would be near $60,000 – a huge expensive for a struggling team. “You’re looking at bus trips, accommodation, and food. It’s not cheap. When you’re looking at $60,000-$70,000, and a lot of it is self funded, it’s a lot of money to play Press Cup.”
It is unsure whether another team will replace Nayland in the 2014 Press Cup.