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The Matakanui Combined Rugby Club is getting the job done on the paddock in more ways than one, attracting players with employment opportunities in the district.

Jobs as shepherds, engineers and plumbers are among those being made possible to people who want to play rugby for the club’s senior side this year.

The move follows a troubled season for the club last winter after its senior team had to withdraw from the competition due to a lack of players.

Club president Andrew Paterson said numbers were looking strong again.

He said a range of people had registered their interest this season, including players who were injured last season, but had made a full recovery.

Three international players had also signed up the UK and two from the US.

Others keen to get on the field this season included people who lived in the area but did not sign up last year.

Rugby players keen to move to the area were also being supported with job possibilities.

“We have done a fair bit of ringing around and talking to people in the area,” Paterson said, of the push to secure jobs for people.

“We still have[possible] jobs available for people that want to come into the area to play rugby.”

Paterson said the club had made a conscious effort not to take players from other clubs within the district because it would be “self-defeating”.

The club had its first training session of the season in Omakau on Tuesday night.

Paterson said the team would be well supported by a coaching team made up of Dave Cockburn, Simon Phillips and Hamish Cavanagh.

He said two of them were looking to attend an International Rugby Academy of New Zealand (IRANZ) coaching course in Palmerston North next month.

Otago Rugby Football Union development officer Aaron Callaghan, who provides coaching courses in Wanaka, has also been supporting members of the club.

Training sessions will take place in Omakau every Tuesday from 7.30pm.

“Anyone interested in rugby is more than welcome to come along,” Paterson said.

He said junior team numbers were also looking strong this season, possibly in part because more young families had moved to the area.

“So things are quite positive it’s good. The club has certainly got a good feeling about it.”

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz