Stop Charlie Hore – that’s the simple tactic for the Wakatipu Premiers in their home rugby clash against undefeated Maniototo this Saturday.
Co-coaches Tom Bamber and Kelvin Middleton this week spoke of the threat posed by experienced first-five Hore, an Otago and Highlanders rep and older brother of injured All Black hooker Andrew Hore.
Bamber: “If [Hore] gets good ball going forward, he can punch it to the corners and keep us down there for long periods of time.”
As the only team to beat Wakatipu in the first round, Maniototo “will try and beat us up in the forwards, but the way we’ve fronted up in the last two or three weeks, we’re up for it”, Bamber says.
His loosies Ben Blakely and Toi Roberts were again to the fore as Wakatipu dodged a bullet from Upper Clutha in Wanaka last Saturday, narrowly winning 12-10.
Their tight five was also good, including former Ireland under-21 lock Chris Kenefick on debut.
Wakatipu’s only concern is injuries from last Saturday to first-choice first-five and captain Damian Petre and fullback Todd Schmidt.
Undefeated Arrowtown beat Matakanui 19-0 in atrocious conditions in Omakau last Saturday to join Maniototo at the top of the Central Otago table – although Maniototo’s game against Cromwell was postponed by bad weather.
Arrowtown, who’ve only conceded 47 points in eight games, face Upper Clutha at home this Saturday for their 13th defence of the White Horse Cup.
The team’s been bolstered by two Fijian flyers, cousins Jone and Isareli Nayaloga.
Nayaloga scored two tries on debut last Saturday in the win over Matakanui.
“We’ve lacked a bit of pace out wide in the last two or three years,” coach Blair Wilce says.
The club’s not paying the Fijian players but has helped them secure work and accommodation – they live in a cabin beside Arrowtown’s rugby ground.