BAY OF Plenty prop James McGougan will play for Otago in this year’s ITM Cup.
His move south has come as a surprise to the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union, as they hoped he would be part of their plans this season after being sidelined with a lingering back injury.
“We're bitterly disappointed because we see him as a Bay boy and a pretty important part of our core," Steamers coach Sean Horan told the Bay of Plenty Times.
“We've fought pretty hard to hold onto our quality core in the last few years, guys who are just as valuable for us off the field as they are on.”
McGougan has been playing second five for Paroa in Baywide division one, as he struggled to recover from the back injury which kept him out of rugby for most of last season.
Meanwhile, Paul Feeney has replaced Steve Miln as the Steamers’ assistant coach.
A former first five or fullback for BOP and North Harbour, Feeney has been assistant coach of Harbour and Fiji and was head coach of Poverty Bay for three years before shifted to Tauranga in 2009.
This weekend throws up another set of games which could go either way.
Which player was unlucky not to make the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions series?