Fresh from their hard-fought derby, the Arrowtown and Wakatipu Premiers rugby sides finish their round robin season with must-win fixtures this Saturday.
Fourth-placed Arrowtown, who beat Wakatipu 16-13 last weekend, need to fend off Matakanui Combined, at the Queenstown Events Centre, to hold the White Horse Cup till next year.
Wakatipu, meanwhile, need to beat Maniototo in Ranfurly to ensure they stay top of the table heading into the finals.
Arrowtown coach Simon Spark says he’s “pretty stoked” with his team’s derby win on the new Wakatipu High playing field, where the game was transferred due to heavy rain on the Queenstown Recreation Ground.
“In the tight moments, they’re playing for each other.
“You look at the England soccer team – I think that’s what they have, and it’s a very powerful thing to have if you can harness it.”
Spark’s wary, however, of an improving Matakanui side.
“We’re under no illusions that White Horse Cup games are ever a straightforward affair, and our guys are starting to learn that.”
Saturday’s game kicks off 2.30pm.
For his part, Wakatipu co-coach Brett Anderson believes Arrowtown “went out there with a bit more energy [last Saturday] and just wanted it a wee bit more”.
He also feels his side didn’t get the rub of the green.
Back in May, Wakatipu beat Maniototo 83-12 at home, however Anderson says that will count for nothing in Ranfurly this Saturday.
“They’ve definitely progressed a lot throughout their season, and you go down there and they welcome you in a special way.”
If Wakatipu win they’ll remain top of the table and won’t have to travel come finals time.
Ironically, if that happens, Arrowtown’s likely to be their semi-final opponent next Saturday.
“Hopefully that will be at the Rec if the council would sort the ground out,” Anderson says, “and not in Frankton.”