Shute Shield: Warringah draw on their Scottish links to fill ranks as round one looms
By MARK CASHMAN
Warringah have got some great return from Scottish imports over the years and the talk is they have jagged another good one in backrower Mungo Mason.
It all started more than 20 years ago when the current Scotland coach Gregor Townsend called the shots at flyhalf for the Rats in 1993 and 1995 on a guest stint and continued in recent times with their lock and sometime backrower Sam Thomson.
The 24-year-old Mason was born in Carluke, just outside of Glasgow and moved to New Zealand with his family when he was two.
Mason attended Tauranga Boys’ College and was captain of the school’s First XV rugby side and played for the New Zealand Schools Barbarian team in 2013.
All things being equal in a Covid-19 free world Mason would have been playing for the Major League Rugby side in Washington but the reality of the situation has given him the chance to broaden his rugby playing experience.
He will be joined by a number of other Scottish-tinged players in solid-looking centre Robbie Nelson and Charlie McKill, who has been part of the Scotland Sevens program for the past couple of years.
The big news though for the Rats is the ongoing machinations for lock Thomson to rejoin the club for the start of the 2020 Shute Shield.
Thomson was a stand out for the Rats in 2019 and is in discussions with government officials to fly out and bolster the clubs ranks after his contract with Edinburgh finished earlier this year.
Club officials are keen to get him into the country as soon as they can, do his time in isolation and then suit up for the Rats.
Elsewhere they have lost skipper Hamish Angus to retirement and McLean Jones to the MLR but there has been a number of significant incomings.
Rory Suttor (backrower) and Wayne Borsak (prop) have come across from Sydney Uni and Andrew Davies is back on the northern beaches after three years in Ireland.
Rats new head coach Mike Ruthven said the grand final loss to Sydney Uni where they led for all bar nine minutes still cuts deeply to many at Rat Park.
“It certainly does,” he said this week. “But reflecting back what that game does highlight is that leading for 71 minutes is just not good enough.
“In the end we weren’t able to close it out and we have to learn from that and just get better.
“We’ve got Uni first up and there is always great excitement around that game.
“There will be two very different teams turning out this time around but regardless of when you take on Uni it’s always a tough task.”
There was quite a deal of interest in Ruthven’s services for 2020 with several clubs all sounding him out about his interest in roles.
But once the big job at the Rats came abut it was full steam ahead for the club that he played his junior rep and senior footy at.
Cam Treloar is handling the forwards coaching again with former Test No.7 Phil Waugh coming in and doing some work in the contact areas of the game and the club’s backrowers.
Angus will be seen at Rat Park at different times as he works with the senior squad on their skills while Dan Tilley is doing the S & C work.