Knockout rugby looms


The Wakatipu and Arrow­town Premiers rugby teams face challenging semi-finals this Saturday – if frozen grounds don’t see the games abandoned.
Wakatipu, who topped the Central Otago table, face 2010 and 2011 champions Maniototo at the Queens­town Recreat­ion Ground.
Wakatipu beat them in both round-robin games this season, pinching the White Horse Cup off them in the second one.
However, this coming weekend Manitoto is likely to be bolstered by their All Black hooker Andrew Hore.
Arrowtown, second on the points table, face Clyde-Earnscelugh at the Events Centre, due to weather damage to Jack Reid Park.
Clyde-Earnscleugh won their last encounter 18-7.
“We’ve struggled to crack their defence,” Arrow­town coach Hayden Finch (pictured right) says.
Arrowtown will want to give their captain Aidan Winter a good send-off in their last home game, with the Central Otago final controversially due to be held in Alexandra.
Finch calls Winter – who’s played more than 100 games, popping up in the backs as well as the forwards – “probably the most influential player that we’ve ever had”.
Both Finch and his Wakatipu counterpart Kelvin Middleton hope their teams meet in the final. 

“Ideally it would be great to show that rugby’s strong in this area,” Finch says.
Last Saturday’s final round-robin games were all cancelled due to frozen grounds.
Also affected was the Wakatipu Wanderers’ senior competition semi-final against Upper Clutha, re­scheduled for this Saturday.
SATURDAY’S SEMI-FINALS: Wakatipu Wanderers v Upper Clutha Seniors, Queenstown Recreation Ground, 1pm; Arrow­town Premiers v Clyde-Earnscleugh, Events Centre,
2.45pm; Wakatipu Premiers v Maniototo, Queenstown Recreation Ground, 2.45pm