Wakatipu claim White Horse Cup

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The Wakatipu Premiers rugby team has won the prestigious White Horse Cup for the first time in four years.

The team claimed the cup – the regional equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield – with a 28-17 win against Manitoto yesterday (Saturday) in Ranfurly.

Maniototo six weeks earlier had lifted the cup off Arrowtown.

Wakatipu captain Regan Pearce says the feeling after the game was “just unbelievable”.

“It’s been four years since we won it – just elation is the best way to describe it after the game.”

Pearce says his team was rattled by Maniototo at the start of the game and was 8-3 down after 20 minutes.

Wakatipu then struck with tries by centre Danny King and fullback Brad Robertson and led 18-11 at halftime.

“Maniototo kept it tight when they had the ball, we spun it wide when we got it and our defensive line held strong,” Pearce says.

Pearce says that at the halftime break the Wakatipu coaches Kelvin Middleton and Damian Petre said, ‘look, guys, all that’s going to be [needed] from here is belief and just hanging onto the ball’.|

Wakatipu winger Tony Farley added a try in the second half and kicked several penalties and conversions.
Wakatipu’s player of the day was second-five Nathan Reid.

Pearce, Robertson and prop Brad Patterson are the three survivors from the last time Wakatipu lifted the cup – also against Maniototo – four years ago.

Wakatipu’s first defence of the cup will be in Queenstown on June 9 when they tackle the strong Clyde-Earnscleugh team.

Wakatipu lost 31-13 when the two teams met in Clyde during the first round of the Central Otago competition.

“It’s one thing to win the cup, it’s another to defend it,” Pearce says.