FORMER Wallabies powerhouse Peter Crittle is set to spearhead a new era of rugby union in Murwillumbah.
A hulking veteran of 15 Tests for Australia between 1962 and 1967, Crittle has agreed to terms as head coach of the rejuvenated Murwillumbah Rugby Union Football Club from 2010.
“We are extremely fortunate to havesecured the services of Peter as our coach for the first season back,” Nigel Beard, MRU committee president, said.
“MRU has been lying dormant for far too long, but we’re back, and our new squad will enjoy the rare opportunity to be coached by one of the best.”
Having honed his trade with the NSWWaratahs throughout the 1960s, Crittle went on to become president of the NSWRU from 1993-99, vice-president of the ARU from 1994-2001, and finally ARU president from 2001-05.
A barrister by trade, Crittle has been a huge supporter of the North Coast Bar as well as local rugby union, and in 2004 was honoured as an officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his rugby achievements.
The accolades kept coming and in 2005 he received the Vernon Pugh Award for distinguished service – outstanding contribution to Australian Rugby and in particular his part in the hosting of the 2003 World Cup – at the annual International Rugby Board Awards ceremony in Paris.
Now however, Crittle faces his toughest task to date: restoring MRU to the glory days of old.
“The committee has decided that rather than being thought of as a new rugby union club, we would carry on the tradition that began back in 1896,” Beard said.
“There were a number of potential players present at our first meeting and that was extremely encouraging to us as a committee, determined to see that rugby is again the force it was for many years in Murwillumbah.”
MRU will compete in the Far North Coast Village Competition next season, against teams from Bangalow, Byron Bay, Evans Head, Iluka, Kyogle, Mullumbimby, Woolgoolga and Yamba.
“We are looking for young guys with an interest in playing rugby,” Beard said.
“Whether you have played, or just want to give it a go, make sure you get in contact or pop down when training starts up.”