Head coach Dale MacLeod has achieved one of his first goals, just in time for the Christmas break. After only six weeks in the role he is pleased to have 15 of the best performing players from the past two seasons back for 2020 SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags.
This comes with the exciting news of four more signings this week, those being prop Joe Walsh, hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate, first five Scott Eade and halfback Logan Crowley.
After a very good campaign in 2019, its is very pleasing for the union that prop Joe Walsh has signed on for a further two seasons with the SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags. Dale MacLeod rates Joe’s mental strength as a key asset. “Joe brings experience and a fierce attitude to the group. His work rate is big and he’s not afraid of the dark places the game can bring on and off the field”. Walsh played his 2019 club season with Woodlands.
Experienced hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate is back for 2020. Dale MacLeod is pleased Greg sees the Stags as a genuine platform to relaunch his career back on the Super Rugby stage.
Pleasants-Tate was working his way back to fitness in the 2019 Stags season following neck surgery, and Dale understands how hard Greg had to work to achieve this. “It’s always hard, especially returning to the front row. Greg understands the game very well both technically and tactically, bringing a combative attitude as a very good scrummager”.
“We have discussed a plan going forward and will continue to challenge each other to achieve goals in 2020 and beyond”.
The backs have also had a key success story return for 2020, that player being 2019 Stags newcomer Logan Crowley. Crowley joined Southland in 2019 after being enticed down from his home province of Taranaki. The young halfback had a ground-breaking season as a regular starting halfback and has recently been selected into the Hurricanes Super Rugby setup.
Coach Dale MacLeod says Logan’s decision to come South in 2019 was a great sign for the future of Southland Rugby. “He was offered a contract in Taranaki as well as Southland, and he recognised the opportunity Southland had given him and now he has an opportunity with the Hurricanes because of his performances in the Southland jersey”
Logan’s loyalty is a quality Dale and the rest of the coaching staff like, stating that it’s important the players that pull on the jersey perform for all of Southland and it’s fans.
Consistently in the squads top five tackle count for 2019, Logan’s work rate will only get better in 2020.
Scott Eade returned to the Stags setup in 2019 after a short break from Mitre 10 Cup rugby, although his season was short lived following a shoulder injury that side-lined him for the majority of last season. Scott will work hard over the next few months in the gym to be ready for the 2020 campaign. Coach Dale MacLeod highlighted Scott’s best assets as his defence and willingness to learn. ‘He is very coachable. I challenged him around defence at the start of 2019 and he went about his work and showed that he was up to task in that area”.
Scott’s 60+ games for Southland will bring experience and pride. “He is a very good leader and is prepared to challenge and question others, something that is very important if the SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags are to improve in the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup.
With phase one of recruitment complete, phase two will start next club season, with the coaching group being confirmed by the end of February 2020.
Current 2020 Signed SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags
- Ethan de Groot (Blues/Highlanders)
- Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Star/Highlanders)
- Ray Tatafu (Blues)
- Charles Alaimalo (Woodlands)
- Matt James (Woodlands)
- Lio Tosi (Marist)
- Tony Lamborn (Blues Super Rugby)
- Joe Walsh (Woodlands)
- Greg Pleasants-Tate (Star)
- Ray Nu’u (Highlanders)
- Isaac Te Tamaki (Pirates Old Boys)
- Rory van Vugt (ENC Barbarians/ Atlanta Major League Rugby)
- Josh Moorby (Woodlands)
- Scott Eade (Marist)
- Logan Crowley (Coastal/Hurricanes)