By PHILIP CHANDLER
For varying reasons, the Arrowtown and Wakatipu Prems rugby sides will be raring to go for their fifth-round fixtures this Saturday.
Unbelievably, Arrowtown’s match against defending champs Cromwell Goats will be their
first home game after Maniototo pulled pin last weekend.
“The boys will be up for it, for sure,” coach Simon Harpur says.
While Maniototo’s default was ‘‘very disappointing’’, he pays credit to them allowing Arrowtown to bank four points rather than insist on sharing two apiece.
‘‘If it’s Covid-related, the points are shared — Maniototo did say they had a few Covid cases but the majority of the issue was work and injury.’’
Wakatipu, who travel to Omakau to play Matakanui, will want to put behind Saturday’s frustrating 32-all draw against Upper Clutha in Wānaka.
Both games kick off at 2.30pm.
The draw meant the two teams remain unbeaten, at the top of the table, but it also kept Wakatipu’s mitts off the coveted White Horse Cup.
‘‘It’s the same old cliche,’’ says coach Brett Anderson, who says his side was ‘‘lucky to salvage a draw’’.
‘‘As much as I find it bullshit, you learn a lot from a poor performance.’’
It was disappointing they were up 12-0, then conceded three tries while winger Brooke
Wilson was in the sin-bin for a high tackle.
“Whether he was on the field or not, the way we adapted wasn’t good – when they put us under pressure we folded a fair bit and went into our shell.
‘‘I think the boys have already learnt a lot from that.’’
Anderson says Matakanui will be tough as they seem to grow a leg in front of their fans, ‘‘or they’ve got an extra leg down there anyway’’.
“It’s another big test in how we respond and how we get off the bus.”
Meanwhile, the coach salutes their no.8, Bradley Cross, who brought up his 100th game at the weekend as “an absolute Trojan warrior”.
“I reckon he’s played 80 minutes in 95 of them and he’s still been going at 80 minutes every time – he’s just a massive leader in that pack.”
in other games, the Wakatipu Wanderers lost 19-10 to Blues in Invercargill, while the Wakatipu women beat their Blues opponents 20-15.