By PHILIP CHANDLER
The Arrowtown Premiers’ rugby coach believes their hard-fought win over Alexandra last
Saturday sets them up well for a tough White Horse Cup challenge in Wanaka tonight.
Arrowtown beat Alexandra 26-18, but only after the home side threw everything at them for the first 20 to 25 minutes.
‘‘I suppose [it was] a bit of a hangover from their loss [to Wakatipu] the week before,’’
Simon Harper says.
His players also coughed up a lot of ball and were hamstrung by two second-half yellow cards, but he says their fitness ‘‘really stood up, and just that desire to win, really’’.
‘‘They’ll get a lot of confidence from that, the fact they were able to absorb so much
pressure and come away with the win …’’
Harper says his team’s ‘‘definitely keen’’ ahead of tonight’s challenge against Upper Clutha, which was brought forward from Saturday due to duckshooting.
Upper Clutha started their season by wresting the White Horse Cup from Cromwell, and
then defended it against Maniototo last weekend.
Arrowtown, who last held the prestigious cup in 2019, beat the Wanaka side five times in a row over the past two seasons before losing their last encounter 27-25.
Wakatipu, meanwhile, have their own challenge tonight, tackling defending champs
Cromwell Goats on their home patch at 7pm.
Wakatipu last Saturday had a 101-0 blow-out against Cromwell’s second team, the Cavaliers, which coach Brett Anderson admits ‘‘wasn’t really beneficial for anyone’’.
‘‘It might have been good for the fitness, doing a fair bit of running up and down the field, but it’s not the ideal prep.’’
Anderson says tonight’s encounter will be ‘‘a good old battle between a couple of the
better teams in the competition’’.
Meanwhile, Wakatipu Wanderers opened their season with a 25-18 away win against Winton’s Midlands, while the Wakatipu women’s side lost 23-5 to Midlands at Mossburn.