Arrowtown underdogs fizz for final

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Arrowtown’s rugby coach concedes his side are underdogs for Saturday’s Central Otago premiership final against Maniototo. 

“They’re unbeaten this season, so we’ve got to go down there with pretty much a nothing-to-lose attitude,” Simon Spark says. 

Spark says his team put in only 30 minutes of good rugby in their 26-18 semi-final win over Upper Clutha in Wanaka last Saturday – and will need to beef up their game this weekend to have any chance. 

“We’ve got to do that for 80 minutes [against Maniototo] and even then, we’re going to have to play extremely well to beat them.” 

Spark confirms powerful loose forward Ben Chisholm is out after dislocating an elbow against Upper Clutha. 

“We’ve just collectively got to play well, that’s the biggest challenge – to get everybody up for it, not just seven or eight or 10 players.” 

Upper Clutha coach Hamish Crosbie – whose team lost to Maniototo by a point the week before their semi – agrees they start favourites. 

“They haven’t got too many weaknesses and with [first-five] Charlie Hore, he controls the game.” 

But Crosbie still gives Arrowtown a shot: “Arrow-town have got a great lineout and a really good scrum so they can attack the Maniototo set-piece. 

“You’ve got to move the ball against Maniototo – they’ve got a good old bunch of forwards that if you just hit up around the fringes, that suits them.” 

The Wakatipu Premiers play Cromwell in a Central Otago playoff game in Queenstown on Saturday.