‘A big thrill for all the boys’
South Canterbury club rugby is set to get some super influence when Hurricanes utility back Billy Guyton steps on to Manchester Park tomorrow.
Guyton has returned to his home town to help an injury-plagued Waimate side.
He was released from Hurricanes to play for his provincial union Tasman, who were in turn happy for him to head south for a family celebration and play for Waimate.
At this stage it is a one-off deal.
Waimate coach Barry Matthews is delighted Guyton, 23, was willing to return. It was not quite Dan Carter returning to Southbridge to play club rugby, but was “a big thrill for all the boys”.
“He has trained with us occasionally before.” Guyton had been welcomed back as a “true blue Waimo”.
“For Billy to do it was outstanding.” The coach said Guyton’s experience at a higher level would pay dividends to those around him. He was expected to start at second-five, as Matthews juggled his backline injuries.
Matthews also coached Guyton for three years in the North Otago Heartland side before he was snapped up by Tasman last year.
A great season for the Makos saw him included in the Hurricanes wider training squad and he got game time when some of the regulars were injured.
Matthews said Guyton was originally not a great trainer but had real ability and decided to put his mind to it.
“It shows you what can happen when a player shows some real commitment and dedication.”
There was a pathway from Heartland to Super Rugby for those who really wanted it, he said.
Matthews said he hoped Guyton’s return would also inspire junior players. He is only the second Super Rugby player to turn out in the South Canterbury club competition.
Pleasant Point first five-eighth Graeme Dempster made the Canterbury Crusaders in 1996, the first year of Super 10.
Tasman chief executive Tony Lewis, who signed Guyton’s release to play in Waimate, said he thought it was a great opportunity.
“Getting a Super Rugby player back in South Canterbury should be good for everyone.”
Waimate face Harlequins, at Manchester Park, with kickoff at 2.45pm.
Celtic are also hoping to have their backline boosted by the arrival of Tongan sevens captain Kilifi Latu.