Yamba up in air over first grade move.
Yamba up in air over first grade move.

Villagers to join the Union

THE Far North Coast Rugby Union competition will be strengthened in 2011 with Yamba set to step up from the Village competition into first grade.

The move brings the total number of first grade teams to eight and eliminates the series of byes that has stagnated the competition this year.

FNCRU secretary Wayne Millane is thrilled that all clubs will now have a fixture in each round of the competition.

“It has been a priority for us to have eight teams,” Millane said. “Ten would be better but we must have an even number of teams in first-grade and it looks as though Yamba will satisfy us in that regard.”

Yamba has swept through the Village competition almost unchallenged in 2010 with 13 wins in as many matches.

Meanwhile, the seven first grade sides have had to sit through two and three-week periods of no rugby with their bye fixture tacking onto the back of general byes which are scheduled around Country Championships and the Wallabies playing at Suncorp Stadium.

The regular season competition runs over 18 weeks with each club only playing 12 games in that time – Lismore and Southern Cross University the worst hit with their bye fixture on either side of a two-week break for representative rugby.

Greens coach Richard Hughes is livid with the administrators after being unable to get any continuity in the competition.

“With the amount of byes we have had the whole comp has become a farce,” Hughes said.

“The board should have shown some balls and told one of the village clubs to step up to the plate earlier.

“It seems that they only want to cater to the village comp and it is to the detriment of first grade.”

But Millane insists that although the FNCRU offered Bangalow and Yamba the chance to step up prior to the 2010 season they are not in the business of forcing clubs to do so.

“Those clubs simply weren't up to it at the start of the season,” Millane said.

“Yamba needed another year to build the club, which they have, and Bangalow have only just come good late in the year.”

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