It’s basic rugby play till the final whistle


Wakatipu and Arrowtown players can expect an ear-bashing this week about rugby being an 80-minute game. 

Undefeated Arrowtown duly beat Cromwell, 29-5, last Saturday to successfully defend the White Horse Cup for the 12th time after leading 24-0 at halftime. 

“We’re not clicking for 80 [minutes] yet,” backs coach/player Hayden Finch says. 

“We’re only playing in patches, which is really frustrating.” 

Third-placed Wakatipu scored two tries in the first few minutes of a 39-8 win last Saturday over this season’s easybeats, Alex­andra. 

“We started well with a hiss and a roar then took the foot off the brake and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in Alexandra,” coach Kelvin Middleton says. “When you’re 12-nil up after a handful of minutes, you just never capitalise and punish [opponents] like you want to.” 

Wakatipu start the competition’s second round this Saturday playing fifth-placed Upper Clutha in Wanaka. 

Wakatipu have to make to do without two first-round overseas stars, with former Wales under-19 player Rhys Howells and ex-under-19 Spanish rep Albert Isola both having left town. 

Arrowtown, who play Matakanui in Omakau this Saturday, will be without 33-year-old Finch, who ruptured ankle ligaments near the end of the Cromwell game. 

Several local players have extra rugby commitments after being picked for Central Otago squads to play South Otago in Cromwell on June 7. 

The senior squad includes brothers Reece and Aidan Winter, Ben Chisholm, Dan Iosefo and Matt Cruick­shank from the Arrowtown Premiers and Wakatipu’s Tom Kelly, Ben Blakely, Cole Pewhairangi and Tom Gray. 

The Central Otago development squad includes captain Daniel Dodds, Daniel Eyles
and John Morrison from Arrowtown and Wakatipu’s Toi Roberts and Brett Anderson.