Arrowtown Bulls’ below-par performance wasn’t the only surprise at last weekend’s 10-a-side rugby competition – captain Aidan Winter shaved off his trademark mullet.
The hot favourites – last year’s Otago Country 15-a-side champs – took third place behind winners Clutha Valley Tigers and beaten finalists Marist Invercargill at the Arrowtown competition last Saturday.
Clutha tipped over Marist, 12-10.
“We played a good first few games but in the semifinal [against Marist] we just let ourselves down,” says Winter, an Otago Sevens rep in 2007. “I think the boys thought they were playing the final already instead of the semi.”
Scores were tied 5-5 at fulltime and Marist scored two extra-time tries to triumph, 15-5.
The comp, held at Jack Reid Park, saw eight teams in two pools from around Central Otago and further south.
“It was only a bit of fun,” says Winter. “But I think we got a bit of a wakeup call [for the 2009 season] when we lost, which was good.”
Winter, 26, who’s had his mullet for the past five years, decided to chop it off before training last week.
“Time I grew up, I suppose. The players were a bit surprised.”
He’s getting used to the new look. “I can always grow it back. Nah, I like it.”
As for the upcoming 15-a-side season, Winter says the team’s looking for more forwards to complement the team in its bid to dominate this year’s competition.
“It will be harder this year because everyone will be out to get us.”