The Albion Rugby Club awarded a long-time club member a well-deserved life membership on Saturday.
Gore man Jimmy Cormack was presented with life membership after the Albion senior team he coaches played its first home game against Riverton at the Gore A&P Showgrounds.
The team comfortably beat Riverton, 41-3.
Cormack joined Albion in 1980 and never looked back.
He revealed Albion was the only rugby club he had ever played for.
He joined as a school-aged teen and slowly worked his way up to senior club rugby.
From there Cormack, who played wing, made the Southland Country and Southland teams which ultimately earned him a trial for the New Zealand under 21 team, he said.
“I made the team and we did an internal tour and played three games in New Zealand against a few provincial teams,” Cormack said.
The team then travelled to Australia to play in a curtain-raiser against the Australia under-21 side before a Wallabies v All Blacks test.
“It was the biggest stage I’d ever played on at that point,” he said.
“Sean Fitzpatrick was the team captain [of the under 21 side]. I think eight All Blacks came out of that side.”
Cormack said the trial team was coached by the late Colin “Pinetree” Meads.
“It was pretty humbling.”
Among his time as a member of the Albion Rugby Club he has served as player, coach, president and committee member.
A huge highlight from his time in the club was playing in the winning Galbraith Shield team in 1995.
“The team that won still get together every year.”
“I’ve made some good friends.”
One aspect Cormack said had changed during his time with the club was club spirit but one thing that had not was the friendly rivalry between Pioneer and Albion.
“Now the club spirit is starting to come back and that’s a winning culture.”
Cormack has coached the senior team for three years and this year hopes to take it to the finals.
“Our aim this year is to get into that top four again.”
“There’s a wee bit of unfinished business.”
Albion club president Kevin Holland said Cormack had put a lot of work into the club during his time there.
“He’s a good committed club member,” he said.
“He’s given a lot back to the game.”