Stags coaches scouting Wakatipu talent

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Southland Stags rugby coaches will be studying player form when the Wakatipu Premiers take on Clyde-Earnscleugh this Saturday. 

Wakatipu captain Regan Pearce says long-time Southland Stags coaches Dave Henderson and Simon Culhane will be talent-spotting at the Queenstown Recreation Ground 

The game is Wakatipu’s first defence of the coveted White Horse Cup after the team claimed it off Maniototo two weeks ago. 

“I speak with Dave every year just in terms of what players are around and who’s standing out and who’s potentially worthy of higher honours,” Pearce says. 

Pearce has nominated young players winger Mark Te Whaiti, open-side flanker Marcus Balchin and number eight Jake Lawrence. 

Representative honours could help those players stay in the area. 

Te Whaiti and Balchin, who played for Central Otago in their Topp Cup draw with South Otago on Monday, are both talking about potentially heading elsewhere, Pearce says. 

Pearce suggests his team will be underdogs against Clyde-Earnscleugh. 

Wakatipu lie third in the Central Otago competition while Clyde-Earnscleugh, which thrashed them 31-13 in the first round, are second. 

Pearce says his team has improved a lot since then, despite struggling to beat Matakanui 35-27 under lights in 
Omakau last Friday. Wakatipu need to beat Clyde-Earnscleugh and Cromwell, on June 30, to have their name inscribed on the White Horse Cup. 

Meanwhile, the Arrowtown Premiers last Saturday notched their first win over Maniototo in two-and-a-half years, winning 27-7 in Ranfurly. 

Arrowtown are on top of the Central Otago competition – its only loss being Maniototo’s successful White Horse Cup challenge on April 14.

SATURDAY’S DRAW: Wakatipu Prems v Clyde-Earnscleugh, Queenstown Recreation Ground, 2.45pm; Arrowtown Prems v Upper Clutha, Jack Reid Park, 2.45pm; Cromwell Seniors v Wakatipu Wanderers, Cromwell, 2.45pm