THEY thought they had been training since November all for nothing when the 2020 Upper Mid North Coast Rugby Union competition was cancelled last week.
But a number of Hastings Valley Vikings, Kempsey Cannonballs and Port Macquarie Pirates players will now join forces after the Barbarian Hogs were admitted as the sixth team into the lower Mid North Coast competition.
With the team entering the competition late and Gloucester scheduled for a bye, the first round will be recorded as a draw.
But team manager Teale Bryan said they were already looking forward to the first game next weekend.
The competitive side will come out that's for sure, but the intention is to play rugby and have some fun.Barbarian Hogs team manager Teale Bryan
"The competitive side will come out that's for sure, but the intention is to play rugby and have some fun," he said.
"That's the nature of the humans involved, we've been competitive for ages."
Bryan admitted the average age of their forward pack would be the other side of 40 which would be offset by a largely teenage backline.
"At the end of the day it's literally old blokes and reserve graders who have been training since November and it might be their last year," he said.
"We're not going down south to blitz them, it's a conservative side to fit in with the competition and there are a lot of young fellas who wanted to step up and have a game."
While Pirates and Vikings matches have often been played with plenty of feeling over the years, there was no animosity once the full-time whistle sounded.
"It's probably half-half, mostly Vikings forwards and a smattering of Pirates; we never thought we'd play together but we're all excited," Bryan said.
"Rugby is one of those sports where you never forget your mates so we'll start next week and that gives us the chance to say hello to each other.
It's a huge boost for the game on the Mid North Coast and a great opportunity for players and clubs to play a different team.Bob Wilson
"The intention is not to go down there and win every week, we just wanted to keep guys playing sport."
Mark Howard will coach the side.
Mid North Coast zone executive officer Bob Wilson said it was good for the lower Mid North Coast competition to have a sixth team admitted.
"It's a huge boost for the game on the Mid North Coast and a great opportunity for players and clubs to play a different team and players," he said.
"They will be eligible to play in the finals series."
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