Local rugby’s going to the, er, ducks.
At least six players will miss Saturday’s big local rugby showdown between Arrowtown and Wakatipu to go duck shooting on opening day.
Arrowtown Premiers coach Hayden Finch – who says he doesn’t believe in duck shooting – is resigned to losing four players.
“We’ve put a lot of pressure on them, but when it’s a family kind of ritual, it’s quite hard to convince them they should come and play one of the best games of the year.”
Wakatipu Premiers coach Kelvin Middleton says: “I thought that a player in Arrowtown colours to not be playing for Arrowtown under Finchy would be risking a fair bit.
“We’ve got a couple of players that are the same – you’ve got to respect that rugby’s not the be-all and end-all of these guys’ lives,” Middleton says.
Finch says he didn’t consider asking Wakatipu to switch dates to avoid opening day, as often happens with other Central Otago fixtures.
“You want to make the most of the day by having a good crowd and good club support in the bar afterwards.”
Finch says he might have a “Dad’s Army reserve bench” after losing another two players to serious injuries during their 20-7 win over Clyde-Earnscleugh last Saturday.
However he won’t accept his team might be underdogs.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve not won a game all year. When Wakatipu play Arrowtown everyone knows it’s going to be tough slog for 80 minutes.”
Middleton says Arrowtown traditionally grow another arm and a leg when they play Wakatipu.
“They have had the better of us for the last number of years – we’ll be trying our best to turn the tables.”
Wakatipu jumped to the top of the table after their 42-7 win over Upper Clutha in Queenstown last Saturday.
In the curtainraiser the Wakatipu Wanderers lost their senior competition game against Roxburgh 24-15.
SATURDAY’S DRAW: Wakatipu Premiers v Arrowtown, Queenstown Recreation Ground, 2.45pm; Wakatipu Wanderers (bye)