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'Stand back': Arrowtown captain Malcolm Sutherland on the charge against Alexandra last Saturday

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Frustratingly for their supporters, the Arrowtown and Wakatipu Premiers rugby sides have yo-yoed between wins and losses over their first four games this season.

Arrowtown, who beat Alexandra 49-17 at home last weekend, will want to break that sequence with a second win in a row, this time against a tough Upper Clutha side in Wanaka tomorrow.

But Wakatipu, who lost 10-5 away to Maniototo last weekend, will want to carry on that
sequence by beating Matakanui at home.

Encouragingly, Arrowtown have amassed an extraordinary record against Upper Clutha
over the past two seasons, beating them three times in 2019 and twice last year.

Those wins included semi-final victories in Wanaka both years.

‘‘We’ve got the wood over them at the mo ment,’’ coach Dan ‘Pup’ Eyles says.

‘‘That’s probably a mental game we’ll take over there, and hopefully they’re mentally  worried about it, as well.’’

Eyles believes Upper Clutha’s the Central Otago comp’s strongest side, despite their narrow
loss to defending champs Cromwell, ‘‘so we’re definitely going to have to play the best  rugby we’ve played to get the win, especially over in Wanaka’’.

He’s happy with his side’s first half last week end — they led 35-3 at halftime — but disappointed they let Alexandra back in the game in the second half, even being down to 13 men when two players were yellow-carded.

‘‘We just shouldn’t really allow teams to do that ‘cos it could come back to bite us in the bum one day.’’

Encouragingly, he expects they’ll be able to field their strongest team for the first time in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, Wakatipu coach Brett Anderson says his side’s loss to Maniototo was ‘‘very disappointing’’.

‘‘We knew what we were in for, it’s always tough [in Ranfurly], we thought we prepared
accordingly but come game day we didn’t front up.’’

With Saturday’s loss coming after their 18-10 win over Arrowtown, he admits ‘‘we’ve had up and down results, but it’s no need to panic yet’’.

‘‘We’ve just got to take it week by week still.’’

Matakanui, at Queenstown Recreation Ground this Saturday, ‘‘will pose many of the same challenges Maniototo did’’, Anderson says.

‘‘They’ve had some close wins and they’ll be keen to chalk one up on us.’’

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is 3pm, following Wakatipu Wanderers’ game against Invercargill’s Star at 1.30pm.

The Wandererers are coming off two wins, the latest a 31-19 win against Balfour last weekend.

scoop@scene.co.nz