Teams primed for epic Battle clash

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When the Wakatipu Premiers rugby side take on Arrowtown this Saturday, on the latter’s home turf, Jack Reid Park, there are more than traditional ‘Battle of the Basin’ bragging rights at stake.

Wakatipu are also challenging for the coveted White Horse Cup, which Arrowtown took off Maniototo at the start of the season, and two other trophies.

These are also the Central Otago competition’s top sides so far – Wakatipu’s unbeaten and Arrowtown’s dropped only one game.

Arrowtown loosie Aidan Winter, 34, who’s played about 160 games for them since 2005, admits it’s ‘mate against mate’ – “there’s a lot of banter going on, it’s quite good”.

“It’s going to be big alright.

“I think Wakatipu are going to be favourites, to be fair.

“We will have to perform a bit better than we have been, to beat them.

“We’ve got a good team – we just need to hold on to the ball and build more pressure, and work a bit harder on our defence.

“Our backs are going pretty sharp – hopefully we give them the ball.”

A bonus for Arrowtown is playing the game at Jack Reid Park. For the second season every other home game’s been played at the Queenstown Events Centre, because their home turf needs to be redeveloped.

“It’s a bit shit, but we’ve got nowhere else,” Winter says.

Wakatipu prop Brett Anderson, 26, who debuted in 2009 and played one game for Otago in 2011, says “we want to be confident but nothing that’s happened prior really matters when you come up against Arrowtown”.

“They’ve got a lot of good players, and everyone stands up for the Wakatipu clash.”

With Arrowtown also holding the White Horse Cup, he notes that “you pretty much grow another leg when you’re holding that thing”.

Anderson thinks Arrowtown “could be a bit of a wake-up call for our boys, early”.

“We are probably going in as favourites, which puts a lot of pressure on us, so we’re just trying to focus on our systems and what we’ve got to do, and try not to get too carried away by the hype.”

The game kicks off at 2.30pm.

Wakatipu’s supporters’ bus leaves the Queenstown Rec Ground clubrooms at 1.45pm.

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