8 Tuesday July122016 Our People SELWYN TIMES Rural rugby is as much Graham Hutchison is co-coach of the Lincoln rugby team which has just locked away the Murray Cooper Shield, defended at home against other Ellesmere teams, for the eleventh straight season. He spoke to Tom Doudney about club culture, the team’s fiercest rivalry and touring with the Chiefs in South Africa When did you first link up with the Lincoln rugby team? 1996, so 21 years ago. And you’ve been the coach that whole time? I’ve had one or two years off. I started off at under 13s actually and then under 11s and coached there basically ever since, gone right through to Colts and taken a lot of the senior boys right through from under 11s to seniors. What has it been like seeing guys go from promising young players up to the higher level? When players develop like that it gives you a bit of a buzz, to be fair, but more importantly seeing them develop as people, not necessarily just rugby players – it’s a little bit more about the people than just the rugby, really. When did you first become coach of the senior side? In 2011 to 2012 I coached them, and then I gave that up to tour South Africa with the Chiefs. Then I helped out last year when they needed a bit of help and somehow or another got roped back into it this year. When you say you helped out last year, what was your role then? The appointed coach was away for a couple of extended periods and I was more than happy to fill in. What was that you mentioned about touring with the Chiefs? One of the boys I coached at rep level – because I not only coached at Lincoln, I have done a lot of Ellesmere and Canterbury Country coaching all the way through the grades as well – but one of the boys I coached, who first played his rugby at Lincoln, was Andrew Horrell who plays for the Chiefs. We’re good friends with the parents so my wife Pauline and I toured over there with him. So you just sort of followed the team around as spectators? Yeah, we were spectators but we were the only people touring with them so we got well looked after. How many games did you go to over there? Only two, they played the Stormers in Cape Town and the Kings in Port Elizabeth. That was back in 2013. What brought you to Lincoln? We live at Weedons and it was just one of those things where the kids were looking for a team to play and we ended up with them playing over at Lincoln. What’s the team culture like at Lincoln and has it changed much over the years? The club culture is very solid. It has always been a good club to work with although I personally stay out of the politics but as far as the teams I have been lucky enough to coach, they have had good team culture, won a few championships here and there and just had some really good players. Has Lincoln rugby always been pretty strong in the Selwyn district throughout that time? It has had its ups and downs but always been relatively strong. There are guys who are about 28 now who we took from under 11s right up to Colts – that’s Daryl Petheram and I. He’s the other coach at Lincoln. We have coached together for almost 20 years and him and I are the senior coaches at the moment. Do you both share the head coach role or is one of you the assistant? No, no, we both coach together. We have been coaching for a long time so we just get out there and enjoy coaching together and work with each other. We’ve won three senior titles and about 10 titles in total including junior stuff so we’ve been successful. Do you ever disagree about things and how do you resolve that when you are coaching the same team? We have debates, healthy debates over different things, and then we will always come to a resolution and get on with it. I don’t think we have ever had an argument to my knowledge, we just work through things. The team is always paramount and neither of us really have egos to be fair. H ORNBY WORKINGMEN’S CLUB «WHAT'S ON« WESTVIEW LOUNGE SATURDAY 16 July, 4.30PM BARROSS 8PM A&P duo SUNDAY 17 July, 1PM MID-CANTERBURY COUNTRY MUSIC CLUB GOLD COIN ENTRY «COMING UP« SATURDAY 20th AUGUST, 8PM DnD Showband presents THREE SHOWS IN ONE... Fleetwood Mac ; ABBA; Moulin Rouge Pre sale tickets $20 / Door sales $25 SUNDAY 21 AUGUST, 2PM Pat Dugan's 90th Birthday Celebration GREAT LIVE BAND along with special guests Jodi Vaughan, Brendan Dugan, Tony & Temara Williams, Peter Cairns, Cameron Walsh, Allan Barron and more! Tickets $20. 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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday July122016 9 about the people as it is the game When the team is defending the Murray Cooper shield, which you’ve held for so long, what is the mood in the changing sheds before the game? There is a steely resolve there – a determination which is evident from the time the boys arrive at the ground. They value that shield like nothing else. They realise that its history, and that they are part of the history and they really want to make sure that on their watch it doesn’t leave that Lincoln cabinet. I guess when it has been there 11 years, it would be like that. It has actually been there for about of 15 of the last 16 years. Southbridge won it in 2005 and we got it back in 2006 but we had had it for four years before that as well. Rural rugby seems, even more so than city rugby, like its about getting out there with your mates and letting off some steam and looking after each other – would you say that’s pretty accurate? Rural rugby is quite intense – we train two times a week and everyone takes it pretty seriously. You could probably argue its a level below the town rugby but in some cases there are some really good teams out in Ellesmere this year with Southbridge and Waihora and Burnham- Dunsandel-Irwell are all very strong sides so it’s a strong competition. I guess you probably would have played rugby yourself in your younger days? I never played rugby – I played rugby league. I moved out into the SAFE AGAIN: Graham Hutchison, right, is pleased that Lincoln will be able to lock away the Murray Cooper Shield for the 11th straight season. Co-coach Daryl Petheram is next to Hutchison. Below: Chiefs player Andrew Horrell was coached by Hutchison at the junior level. country and there was no rugby league out here and our boys started playing rugby. There must have been some pretty good rivalries built up over the years between Lincoln and other clubs – which is the team you most want to beat? Lincoln and Waihora have still got a fierce rivalry. They play each year for the Sparks Trophy and that has been going on for some time and obviously they came to try and take the shield off us a couple of weeks ago but they didn’t quite get there. What does the future hold for Lincoln rugby over the next couple of years do you think? We are in the rebuilding stage, it was a tough year last year for our division one side but we have shown some good improvement this year and were pretty competitive so I think it is heading in the right direction. What do you do for a living? I’m the chief executive of a company called Teltrac Communications – a telecommunications contracting company. Have you done any other sorts of jobs before joining Teltrac? No, I worked for Telecom as a telephone technician and then I got the opportunity to get involved with Teltrac as one of the shareholders and have been here for 25 years now. When did you first move to Selwyn and where did you come from? I’m a West Coaster. I come from Blackball and then I transferred over there in 1975 and got married in 1976 and in 1979 we moved out into the country. Was it on the West Coast that you played rugby league? Yes, I played for Blackball and Waro-Rakau. Then I played at senior level for Marist-Western when I came over here. Is it a bit more of a rugby league culture over there is it? It was where I came from – it was just all rugby league in Blackball. What do you like to do in your spare time out of work? I have got a 2ha block so that keeps me busy, I do a lot of gardening because I like to grow my own vegetables and I am a keen follower of racehorses. But family is the most important thing. How much longer do you think you will be coaching? This is my last year, I’m getting too old. I’m just happy to see the team heading back in the right direction. The longevity of my coaching is probably a reflection on the club – they have been bloody good, and if I could just get a little plug in here – Lincoln would look forward to hearing from any new players that want to join a progressive club that looks after their players.