Lone ranger sparks rugby revival
FORMER Australian sevens and Super Rugby player Alex Gibbon is the driving force behind Richmond Range rejoining the Far North Coast rugby union competition this season.
Gibbon runs a cattle farm near Old Bonalbo and will captain-coach the Rangers in the President’s Cup competition.
The 27-year-old was a regular in the Australian sevens team between 2013-2017 and won a first grade premiership with Wollongbar-Alstonville last season.
Richmond Range has not played in the FNC competition since 2012, with most of its players based around Bonalbo, Mallanganee and Tabulam.
“When I first moved out here I didn’t realise how many young guys wanted to play rugby but couldn’t commit to having to travel to Casino or Kyogle a few times a week,” Gibbon said.
“It was something that was on my mind for a while but I didn’t think we would get it going so fast.
“I’m excited for these towns. We don’t really have any sporting teams anywhere out here that the local people can get behind.
“They love rugby and a lot of players who have been part of the club are really excited.”
Gibbon is in decent shape after recovering from a knee injury late last season and has already recruited Yamba front-rower Jordan Walker.
He expects to field players aged 18-40 years, with at least six home games at the Mallanganee field.
“My biggest worry was being able to find a front row but I’ve already got Jordan keen,” Gibbon said.
“He lives at Lawrence but works at Tabulam, so he’s perfect.
“There was a lot more to getting this team going than I thought but we’ve gone through the proper procedures and just have to get everyone registered to play now.
“I really have to thank Joe Allan and Wayne Millane from Far North Coast Rugby for their help in getting this across the line.”
Gibbon is still committed to playing representative rugby with Far North Coast this season and has made himself available for NSW Country selection again.
The Rangers’ first official training session is at Mallanganee next Friday night, with new players invited to attend.