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Shearing’s time to level the transman scores

MEDIA RELEASE

On behalf of Shearing Sports New Zealand

September 24, 2015

Shearing’s time to level the transman scores

The New Zealand shearing and woolhandling team has arrived in Australia determined to regain some transtasman domination after losing both the machine shearing and woolhandling tests against Australia in Masterton in March.

The tests, and a blade shearing test, will be held on Saturday during the Australian National Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Hamilton, Vic.

The machines team comprises experienced international Tony Coster, of Rakaia, and newcomers Troy Pyper, of Invercargill, and Aaron Haynes, of Feilding. The woolhandlers are former World champions Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Dunedin-based Joel Henare, from Gisborne, and the blade shearers are Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Brian Thomson, of Christchurch.

Coster, 48, recognises winning the first leg of the annual home-and-away series is a tough call, with New Zealand having not won a machine shearing test in Australia since 2010 in Hay, NSW, one of three wins he has enjoyed in eight tests against the Australians.

It’s his third trip overseas since claiming a place back in the team by winning his fourth PGG Wrightson National Circuit final win at the Golden Shears in March. He shore three tests for New Zealand in the UK in July, and recently shore at Jondaryan in Queensland with the Canterbury Shears Circuit team.

Pyper, 31, says selection for the test is a dream realised much sooner than he expected, but he does have several seasons of shearing in Australia behind him, including around the Hamilton area.

He came home last summer to see if he could break into the elite of New Zealand shearing, and reached 11 Open-class finals – including the New Zealand Merino Championships, the NZ Shears Circuit, and his first Golden Shears Open final, and had two Open wins, at Mayfield and Oxford.

A change of date for the test, originally to have been held in November, resulted in his surprise selection, as a representative from the NZ Merino Shears. The first two Kiwis in the event last year, Invercargill’s Nathan Stratford and Alexandra shearer Colin O’Neill, were already committed to the NZ Merino Shears team’s match against West Australia at the Royal Perth Show, also this Saturday.

Commenting on his selection, Pyper said: It’s been a goal from when I started shearing, when I started working for a shearing contractor in the school holidays when I was 16.”

At 18 he was shearing full-time, with his eyes on idols such as David Fagan and fellow Southland shearer Darin Forde, and he said as he packed his bags for the trip: “It’s all about the fern.”

Australia is expected to line-up the top team of Boyle, transtasman tests legend Shannon Warnest, and Daniel McIntyre, who in five tests against New Zealand is yet to taste defeat.

Alabaster and Henare will be up against the Australian pairing of Sarah Moran and Tara Smith who scored a surprise win in Masterton earlier this year, while Dobbs and Thomson will face Australians John Dalla and Ken French in defending New Zealand’s unbeaten record in the six bladeshearing tests between the two countries.

ENDS


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