Rec Ground swamp forces 9s to Arrowtown

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Organisers of Saturday’s fifth Queenstown 9s rugby league tournament are dealing with a late curve ball.

Queenstown council’s banned use of the tournament’s usual Recreation Ground venue for three weeks after wet weather, combined with its use for the Queenstown International Marathon finish-line, turned it into a quagmire.

As a result the 9s will be played at Arrowtown’s Jack Reid Park.

“It’s really thrown us under the bus, but we’ll make it work out there,” organising committee chairman Taika Brooks says.

The tournament, running from 9am till about 6pm, has two pools of four teams.

Pool A comprises Invercargill’s Lone Star Cowboys, Central Otago Cobras, Dunedin’s Briggy Bears and Christchurch’s Hornby Panthers, while Pool B comprises defending champs Te Waipounamu Taniwha, from Invercargill, Auckland’s Point Chevalier Pirates, Dunedin’s University A and Canterbury Fiji Bati.

Brooks says the reason for a composite Central Otago side this time, with players from Queenstown, Alexandra and Cromwell, is that it should be more competitive than local sides in the past.

The committee, he adds, have worked hard “to really turn it on so the players feel quite special”.

He’s again grateful for the support of sponsors, including title sponsor MaxRaft.

Games consist of two nine-minute halves.

Tries scored under the posts earn five points rather than four.

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