DUBBO Rhinos have withdrawn from the 2013 Blowes Clothing Cup and will instead play in the Australian National Field Days Cup Northern competition.
The Central West Rugby Union board notified all clubs of the changes yesterday.
The Rhinos had undergone crisis talks with the CWRU board earlier this month where the club raised concerns about its ability to field the required sides in the Blowes Clothing Cup first grade, second grade and colts competitions.
The Dubbo club had also nominated a team in the optional third grade competition.
“We put forward some submissions about some various by-laws and other things and, to Central West’s credit, they have taken them on board but until March 19 there isn’t much more to say,” Rhinos secretary Rob Albouze said after the crisis meeting.
Despite Rhinos best efforts to attract the necessary numbers, they were forced to withdraw from the region’s top competition.
Instead, they will play in ANFD Northern competition, which only requires them to field one side.
“(The Rhinos have) lodged an application with CWRU to play in the ANFD Northern competition,” the statement to clubs read.
“This application was discussed and approved by the Board of CWRU.”
CWRU chief executive Peter Veenstra declined to comment yesterday but added he would make a statement today.
The Daily Liberal attempted to contact Albouze yesterday but he did not return their calls.
Rhinos’ withdrawal leaves the Blowes Clothing Cup with nine teams in its first grade, second grade and colts competitions.
There are also now five sides in the third grade competition.
Rhinos will instead join clubs including Mudgee, Wellington, Yeoval and Trangie in the ANFD Northern competition.
The draws for this year’s Blowes Clothing Cup and ANFD Cup competitions are expected to be released later this week.
The Blowes Clothing Cup will kick off on April 13.