Otago jerseys at stake as Arrowtown prepare to shove thy neighbour.
MR Country Rugby sees Saturday’s derby between Arrowtown and Wakatipu as a testing ground for Otago jerseys.
Country resource coach Tim Colling has called on Otago B and Colts selectors to look at players he thinks are capable of winning provincial honours.
A former Otago rep, he says home side Arrowtown are definitely favourites to stave off Wakatipu’s challenge for the White Horse Cup at Jack Reid Park.
“It’s going into the lion’s den out there – Arrowtown will have plenty of home support.
“They’ve won [the cup], they’ve done the hard work, really, and they’ve got a good attitude
towards it – they’re looking at winning it every weekend rather than defending it.”
Colling, who played three seasons for Wakatipu, also thinks the Arrowtown Rugby Club provides a great atmosphere for its home games.
By contrast, Wakatipu have “promised quite a lot this year but haven’t quite delivered”, he says.
“There’s been a lot of talk about them and they’ve got a lot of new players, but they haven’t quite clicked yet.”
Wakatipu utility forward Brad Patterson reckons extra fans could help his team topple Arrowtown.
“As well as us having two team buses and a convoy of cars going, the club is also putting on a 49-seater coach to get some extra people there,” Patterson says.
“It’s only the second time in Arrowtown’s history that they’ve held the White Horse Cup and we’re determined to make it short-lived.
“People fight tooth and nail for that trophy and we’d love nothing more than to turn up and take it off them.”
Wakatipu has had a disappointing build-up, losing 16-15 to Maniototo in Ranfurly last Saturday despite scoring three tries to one. But Patterson insists they’ll be fired up on Saturday.
“No one likes to lose to their arch-rivals and it would be good to come away with some silverware to drink out of.”
However, veteran Arrowtown lock Jim O’Malley says his unbeaten team are “in good shape” and bursting with confidence after hammering Upper Clutha 20-6 at home last Saturday. Upper Clutha beat Wakatipu 29-17 in the season opener.
“You don’t need motivating for a match like this and it wouldn’t matter if there was no cup on the line,” O’Malley, 35, says.
“The local derbies are always massive games and on the day, it’ll be two teams bashing the crap out of each other, really.”
The free Wakatipu supporters’ bus leaves the Gorge Road carpark at 2pm and stops at the Frankton bus shelter at 2.15pm.
Premiers: Arrowtown v Wakatipu, 2.45pm, Jack Reid Park, Arrowtown
No Senior rugby this weekend (ducks be warned…)
Why it’s gotta be Wakatipu…
Russell Whittaker says: I always like to see Wakatipu win, no matter who they’re playing.
Wakatipu and Arrowtown are reasonably even in the forwards but we will probably beat them in the backs.
We’ve got a good forward pack but there’s some talent in that Wakatipu backline as well.
Hopefully the goalkicking will be a little bit better this weekend. [Last Saturday Wakatipu scored three unconverted tries in losing 16-15 to Maniototo.]
My tip: Wakatipu by 10
Why it’s gotta be Arrowtown…
Sue Edgerton (wife of club stalwart Ewan Edgerton, who died last month) says: I think we’ll take Wakatipu. I have faith in the boys – they didn’t start off too well but they’re getting better each week.
They did so well last year and I think they’ll strive to keep up there this year.
The White Horse Cup is also pretty important – I was in Alexandra when we won the cup and burst into tears because I just think Ewan would really have enjoyed seeing that.
I think the boys will be doing their darndest, for a lot of reasons.
My tip: Arrowtown by 7