Mates go to war in Battle of the Basin rugby clash

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Pride’s on the line for tomorrow’s annual ‘Battle of the Basin’ Premiers rugby tussle, at Queenstown Events Centre.

It’ll be mate-against-mate with both Wakatipu and Arrowtown Prems teams expecting a tough, physical game.

But it’s Wakatipu who’ve got added pressure to hold up their title as the reigning champions.

Wakatipu’s assistant coach Brett Anderson says they take confidence from the performances they put in, not the leaderboard which they’re sitting at the top of.

“We’re definitely not too confident, we’ve said right from the start everyone’s out to get us now we’re the defending champions.”

Meanwhile, Arrowtown have only lost one game this season against Wanaka’s Upper Clutha side – a team Wakatipu beat in the final play of their last game 8-3.

The two local teams last met in the 2017 final won by Wakatipu.

Arrowtown’s coach Simon Spark reckons their underdog status will fuel the fire.

“If we train well this week and get our preparation right we give ourselves the chance of getting the result we want, but it’s definitely an added motivation that we’re underdogs.”

Arrowtown will be looking to break down Wakatipu’s set piece while Wakatipu are acutely aware of the strength Arrowtown have in their loose forwards and locks.

“It’s a tough battle and no one really gives an inch so it’s just beat each other up for 80 minutes, pretty much,” Anderson says.

The ‘Battle of the Basin’ bout usually pulls a solid crowd and this year will be played at Arrowtown’s ‘home ground’.

It’s safe to say it’s anyone’s game at this point.

“I think we probably play pretty similar styles really and we’ll see who can control the ball best and get good field position,” Spark says.

The league was on hiatus last week for duck shooting so both teams have had almost two weeks without a game.

Arrowtown are coming off the back of a decent win against Alexandra, 53-35. Kick-off’s 2.30pm.

mandy.cooper@scene.co.nz