No derby hangovers now


After two season-opening losses, the Wakatipu Premiers rugby coach admits his players face a “must-win” game in Cromwell on Saturday. 

Coach Kevin Middleton says his team showed a “huge improvement” last Saturday despite its 28-19 local derby defeat to Arrowtown. 

“But we’ve got to continue this to foot it in the competition otherwise it’s going to be a long year.” 

Middleton says his team “probably played about 70 minutes of good footy” against Arrowtown. 

His side were “killed” by Arrowtown’s two tries after half-time, he says. 

“You’ve got to give it to Arrowtown, they know how to win.” 

Middleton’s not too concerned that only two of his team’s first six games are at home. 

“We’re looking forward to playing Cromwell and getting a win, it doesn’t matter where it is. 

“But from the club’s perspective it is tough because they make money out of the bar takings and they want to draw people.” 

Arrowtown coach Simon Spark is looking forward to playing Upper Clutha in Wanaka on Saturday after two successful White Horse Cup defences at home. 

“Without being unfair to Wakatipu, we can play better than we did. 

“The local derbies are hard – everyone’s a bit nervous. 

“It will probably be good to get away from home and just play rugby without any pressure.” 

But Spark admits Upper Clutha – also unbeaten after two rounds – will be “bloody hard”. 

“It’s always very hard to win over there.”