The Arrowtown rugby premiers tackle their nemesis, Maniototo, for the prestigious White Horse Cup in Ranfurly this Saturday.
Arrowtown won the cup – Central Otago’s equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield - off Wakatipu a year ago but surrendered it 22-13 to Maniototo in its last defence of the season.
Then two weeks later Maniototo beat Arrowtown 27-8 in the Central Otago championship final.
This season, Maniototo leads the competition with five wins from as many games, whereas Arrowtown’s dropped two.
But Arrowtown assistant coach and veteran flanker Aidan Winter says his team’s up for the challenge.
“It’s going to be tough, but we should be alright.
“We weren’t on the same page [at the start of the season] but now we’ve sat down and had a big yarn and we all know what’s going on and where we want to go.”
Asked about the secret to beating Maniototo, Winter replies: “I’m more worried about what we’re doing instead
of worrying about them.
“If we stick to our game plan and be a bit more direct, we’ll go alright.”
Winter’s extra keen to capture the cup as he’s been playing in Germany for the past two years so missed last season’s reign.
The 32-year-old, nicknamed ‘Goonie’, played eight seasons and more than 100 games for Arrowtown before moving away in 2012.
Coming back, he says the team’s only got about two players he played with – “but it’s a good bunch of guys”.
Winter adds he’s feeling good about his own game and has lost a bit of weight.
In other games this Saturday, the Wakatipu Premiers play Matakanui at the Queenstown Recreation Ground at 2.30pm.
Like Arrowtown, these two teams have also lost two of their first five games this season.
At 1pm, also on the Recreation Ground, the winless Wakatipu Wanderers play Roxburgh, whose only win this
year came against Arrowtown in their first game of the season.