Otago Rugby back running
Thu, 25 Oct 2012 6:45p.m.
By Krissy Moreau
Otago Rugby (ORFU) says it's on track with this year's budget after the union's well-documented bailout earlier this year.
After scrambling to even field a team they now have the opportunity to move back into the top tier of the ITM Cup with a win over Counties Manakau in tomorrow night’s championship final.
All Blacks Ben Smith and Tamati Ellison have been included to boost their chances.
“They're a pretty exciting team and I'm sure they're going be wanting to play and we are too, so hopefully it'll be a good game to watch and hopefully we win,” says Ellison.
A win would move them up into the premiership, and to even be in this position is seen as a remarkable achievement after the union almost went under earlier this year.
“The fact that we might not have a team, all the boys just hung in there, stuck in there, trained hard and got us the results,” says flanker Lee Allan.
ORFU was more than $2 million in debt and after a last-ditch bailout which included the assistance of Dunedin rate payers, the union's now well and truly tightening the purse strings.
“They've stayed in hostels and it's back-to-basics, but it's actually helped galvanise the team as well and make them the unit that they are, if this is a way we can repay and thank our sponsors it's a great start,” says ORFU’s general manager Richard Kinley.
“Footy’s footy, the boys have trained hard and prepared well for every game so I think that's in the past now,” says coach Tony Brown.
A win means more than just a spot in the premiership - it adds leverage for sponsorship pride to the community and puts more bums on seats.
“When you get the likes of the Wellingtons or the Aucklands or the Waikatos coming down as well, people want to come along and see those big teams,” says Mr Kinley.
And while it won't be revealed until the end of the season, if the books balance it's only one more sleep until the championship clash.
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