The Arrowtown Premiers rugby team go from the frying pan to the fire after their derby heartbreaker last Saturday.
Arrowtown – who lost 16-10 to Wakatipu after leading for 78 minutes – face a tough Upper Clutha at Wanaka this Saturday.
“I find Upper Clutha the toughest team to play, they’re the most physical, great tacklers,” coach Hayden Finch says.
Upper Clutha are second on the Central Otago while Arrowtown team – with a game in hand – are sixth.
The competition’s second round is split into top-six and bottom-five leagues.
“We’ve got to make the top six so we need to really win this game,” Finch says.
Finch believes Wakatipu’s greater experience made the difference at Arrowtown’s Jack Reid Park last Saturday.
“That was a game we should have won, I think we made all the play. I’m very pleased with the way we fronted, just disappointed we let ourselves down in the last 10 minutes.”
Finch admits his team have tailed off every game this season: “But we played better for longer that game, that’s for sure.
“Wakatipu know how to win at the moment, they haven’t lost for over a year. That was us a few years ago, we knew how to come back and win.
“We’ve just got to get more experience and get used to that feeling of ‘never say never’. We need to keep getting better because we’re still not there,” Finch says.
Wakatipu coach Damian Petre is delighted his team pulled off a second great escape in two weeks – the week before they beat Maniototo after trailing 17-3 at halftime.
“The spirit of the boys to hang on there when they were chasing the game for 78 minutes was great – and the one opportunity they got, they took it.”
Petre was specially pleased because he’d made eight changes to his starting line-up.
Two players who featured in the build-up to John Noonan’s match-clinching try – backs Stuart Vincent and Rob Lund – were in their run-on debuts, he notes.
The win also meant Wakatipu won ‘The Cup’ from Arrowtown for the first time in four seasons – the trophy’s put up for their first clash each year.
The only down-side for Wakatipu was a severe concussion suffered by centre Danny King who was taken off the field by ambulance and spent two nights at Invercargill’s Southland Hospital.
King’s since been released from hospital.
Wakatipu this Saturday play their B team, the Wanderers, at home.
The Wanderers have only won one of four games this season but will be keen to embarrass their ‘big brother’.
Wakatipu’s White Horse Cup won’t be at stake as it’s the Wanderers’ ‘home’ game.