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Lincoln Uni Rugby scholarships 'unfair'

Lincoln Rugby team huddle during the Hawkins Cup final, 2016. 

Lincoln University Rugby dismisses claims, saying other clubs pay players under the table.

New Brighton rugby coach Scott Pawson said the Lincoln University scholarship programme gave Lincoln a massive advantage over other clubs.

He acknowledged that bringing talented young players to the region through university scholarships benefited Canterbury rugby, but it created an unfair playing field at club rugby.

"It's not a fair playing ground with how they get their players. Obviously they have scholarships that no other club teams can afford to compete with," Pawson said.

"Lincoln will win the competition this year. You can say that right now before a ball's even been played yet."

Scholarship manager Peter Magson rejected the criticism of Lincoln University's rugby programme.

The Lincoln rugby club, which are the defending champions of Christchurch's Premier rugby competition, was certainly not buying titles with the scholarships, he said.

"Lincoln's programme creates a pathway for players, encouraging athletic development and growing better people."

With the ability to offer free tertiary education, it allows Lincoln to recruit talented young players from around the country. 

Brothers Jordie and Scott Barrett along with Sam and George Whitelock are just some of the many successful names to have attended Lincoln under the scholarship programme.

Magson said other clubs had scholarships and were paying players under the table.

Sydenham Rugby director Brent Goldsmid said Lincoln was deflecting attention by casting assertions on other clubs.

No clubs other than the university-affiliated ones, are paying players, Goldsmid said.

Lincoln are Christchurch's reigning division one champions, having won the Hawkins cup two-years in a row, beating New Brighton 49-12 in 2016.

Interview - Peter Magson and Scott Pawson

Interview - Peter Magson (LU head of scholarships) and Scott Pawson (New Brighton coach)