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French revolution in Tauranga

Story by Doug Laing - Shearing Sports NZ

Two French shearers in New Zealand for next month's World Championships will face the best of the rest in an unofficial international match at the Tauranga Show on Sunday.

Loic Leygonie and Thimoleon Resneau have been preparing in the King Country and are looking forward to the Gate Pa racecourse show, where Leygonie's brother, Jeremy, was one of two shearers from overseas to win lower grade finals at the show last year.

It's been a happy hunting ground for travellers with shearers from Australia and England having also claimed red ribbons at Tauranga in recent years.

The shearing on Sunday starts at 10.30am, with show stalwart and Shearing Sports New Zealand life member Hugh McCarroll anxious about how the competition will cope with an expected increase in competitor numbers.

The show is about a week earlier than its traditional dates, the shearing competition is being held on a Sunday for the first time, and does not clash with any other shearing competition over the weekend in the North Island, where it is the show championship since late November, kicking off the second stage of weekly events on the SSNZ calendar, including the World Championships in Invercargill on February 8-11.

While many of the World Championships shearers, woolhandlers and bladeshearers will head for the South Island when they arrive in the country, some are in the North Island, along with many others from their countries.

Among them was a strong contingent of Welsh shearers who on Wednesday were at Moketenui Station, east of Te Kuiti, to see compatriots Delwyn Jones and Matthew Evans help break a three-stand World record.

The opposition for the French team will come from the best New Zealanders in the Open heats on Sunday.

Winners from the Tauranga Show over the last 10 years:

Open: 2007 Paul Avery (Toko), 2009 Paul Avery (Toko), 2010 Dean Ball (Te Kuiti), 2011 David Fagan (Te Kuiti), 2012 Digger Balme (Te Kuiti), 2013 Digger Balme (Te Kuiti), 2014 David Fagan, 2015 Cam Ferguson (Waipawa), 2016 Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti).

Senior: 2007 Doug Smith (Ruawai), 2009 Coel L'Huillier (Te Akau), 2010 Tipene Te Whata (Tautoro), 2011 Tysson Hema (Waipukurau), 2012 Tysson Hema (Waipukurau), 2013 Bryce Guy (Kaeo), 2014 Casey Bailey (Riverton), 2015 Jacob Moore (Marton), 2016 Darren Alexander (Whangamomona).

Intermediate: 2007 Coel L'Huillier (Te Akau), 2009 Haven Matthews (Whanganui), 2010 Haven Matthews (Whanganui), 2011 Sarah Goss (Apiti), 2012 Dean Nelmes (England), 2013 Charlie Guy (Kaeo), 2014 Tom Lewis (Australia), 2015 Stefan Van Oorschot(Tuakau), 2016 Lee Harris (Australia).

Junior: 2007 Nina Sullivan (Tauranga), 2009 Sharnie Rimene (Masterton), 2010 Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti), 2011 Bryce Guy (Kaeo), 2012 Anaru Wakefield (Porangahau), 2013 Marshall Guy (Kaeo), 2014 George Smith (Waikaretu), 2015 Daniel Seed (Woodville), 2016 Jeremy Leygonie (France).