Arrowtown puts rugby’s coveted White Horse Cup on the line again this Saturday fresh from surviving a nail-biting challenge from their local arch rivals.
Arrowtown escaped with an 8-8 draw against Wakatipu Premiers at Arrowtown’s Jack Reid Park last weekend following a last-gasp leveller.
The visitors were ahead 8-3 with time almost up when Arrowtown hooker Nathan Pullar barged over for the equalising try. Arrowtown first-five Reece Winter missed the conversion.
As the reigning holders of the White Horse Cup – Central Otago’s Ranfurly Shield – the home side retain it despite only drawing.
They face another tough defence again on Saturday against unbeaten Clyde.
Arrowtown coach Blair Wilce says he was more relieved than rapt after last week’s torrid derby – his team’s 14th consecutive defence of the trophy.
“Wakatipu probably outplayed us for 75 minutes.
“The forward pack were all pretty gutsy with a never-say-die attitude and that’s what got us home in the end. With five minutes to go they had to dig deep.
“The initial feeling was ‘We were lucky and dodged a bullet’ but at the end of the day we still have the cup and they haven’t and that’s the main thing,” Wilce says.
He expects Clyde to be tough.
“When most teams see the White Horse Cup up for grabs they’re going to lift.”
Wakatipu Premiers co-
coach Kelvin Middleton says never has a draw felt so much like a loss.
“I always felt there was a chance Arrowtown could score in the final minutes and that’s why they’ve been the champion team for the past couple of years – a lot of other teams in that situation would have panicked or fallen off the mark but certainly not Arrowtown, so well done to them.”
Middleton takes heart from his team’s defensive effort, but the cup challenge has decimated his side.
Seven of his forwards are out nursing injuries, including two flankers, two hookers, a prop and a lock.
The worst is star performer Simon Byrne at lock. His season is over after he tore knee ligaments and was carted off to hospital.
Fortunately, Wakatipu’s B team the Wanderers has a bye so the Premiers won’t be short of spare bodies to play Cromwell. Both teams are fourth equal on the points table.
The Wanderers notched up its third win in three matches last Saturday, downing Cromwell’s second team 41-0. The Queenstown side ran in seven unanswered tries and Regan Pearce banged over three conversions.
Pretty in pink
The Wakatipu Premiers will bust out their pink playing stripe again at home this Saturday – and you should too.
Anyone turning up in pink will be eligible to win the Best Supporter of the Day. A trip for two to Milford Sound is up for grabs.
The Premiers are wearing pink this season as part of a breast cancer fundraiser and will be collecting donations on the day.
The newly-refurbished clubrooms will be open, as will the bar. A sausage sizzle is also planned.
Arrowtown v Clyde,
Jack Reid Park, Arrowtown, 2.45pm
Wakatipu Premiers v Cromwell,
Recreation Ground, Queenstown, 2.45pmSaturday rugby