Wakatipu wary of wounded Bulls


The Arrowtown Premiers rugby side travels to Frankton this Saturday for its first ‘home’ game of the season - an eagerly-awaited derby clash with Wakatipu.

Arrowtown can’t use Jack Reid Park, which is being redeveloped, but coach Richie Anderson is renaming the Events Centre, the team’s replacement home ground this season, ‘Jack Reid No.2’.

“It’s going to be tough losing [Jack Reid Park] but it’s a rugby field, the same dimensions as the one we’ve got in Arrowtown.”

Wakatipu Premiers coach Justin Pewhairangi admits it could be an advantage playing Arrowtown at the Events Centre - “it’s closer to home, I guess”.

“But Arrowtown’s going to be hard, wherever you play them, and they’ll definitely have a lot of support.”

To a neutral observer, the teams appear evenly matched this season.

Both sides have beaten Upper Clutha, Wakatipu’s win coming last Saturday, and lost their other game - Wakatipu in the opening round to Maniototo and Arrowtown last weekend, against Cromwell.

Anderson suggests the loss could help his Bulls players this weekend: “It was probably a good time to have a loss - to know what good is, you have to experience bad.

“If you hurt a bull, it’s not a good sign.”

Both teams have stacks of new players this season. Anderson says his club’s given out 17 ties to new players.

“There’s still a nucleus there but the old days when it was Arrowtown locals versus Wakatipu locals, that’s a thing of the past.”

Pewhairangi says he’s also got “a reasonably new team, as Wakatipu seems to have every year”

“We’ve probably only got four or five guys from last year but they’re key players so it’s not too bad.”

Saturday’s game kicks off at 2.30pm.

The Wakatipu Wanderers, meanwhile, won their first game in the Southland division three competition last Saturday - a 27-18 away win over Otautau. This Saturday they play Woodlands at the Queenstown Recreation Ground - kick-off is 3pm.