Having taken the coveted White Horse Cup off Arrowtown last weekend, the unbeaten Wakatipu Premiers rugby team couldn’t have a tougher first-up challenge this Saturday.
They’ll face a fired-up Maniototo at Queenstown Recreation Ground.
Long-time cup holders Maniototo were tipped up by Arrowtown at the start of this season.
“They’ll want the White Horse back and they are definitely a tough side,” Wakatipu coach Justin Pewhairangi says.
“I read [Arrowtown coach Simon Spark’s] comments when they took it off Maniototo, that sometimes it’s harder to defend the cup, so we’ve got that sort of mindset this week.
“We’ve got to get our set-piece in order – it was good [against Arrowtown] but we can be better, because that’s where they’re going to attack us.
“And we’ve got to make sure we put their big guys on the ground, otherwise it could be a long day at the office.”
Maniototo co-coach, former All Black hooker Andrew Hore, says they’ve got better numbers than they had earlier in the season – “and we’ve got a couple of key people back from injury as well”.
As to who’ll win, he says: “You’ve got to go in with confidence, but I’d say it’s probably 60-40 to Queenstown, the way they’ve been playing.”
Hore says he’ll probably be the water boy but could come on as a substitute.
Meanwhile inspirational Wakatipu prop Brett ‘Big Show’ Anderson plays his 50th game for the side this Saturday.
“It’s pretty special to me to play 50 games for this club this weekend, and trying to hold on to the White Horse Cup adds another level of special.”
Anderson, 26, first played for Wakatipu in 2009, but also played three years in Dunedin.
“I played 46 games for Taieri so I missed the blazer game there.”
Echoing his coach’s view on how tough Saturday’s game will be, he calls it “another big day after another big day”.
Defending the cup is hard, he says – “once you’ve got it, everyone’s after you”.
The game kicks off at 2.30pm.
On the same ground, the Wakatipu Wanderers host Invercargill’s Marist Premier Development team at 1pm.
The club’s also celebrating ‘club day’ this Saturday.
Meanwhile, Arrowtown travel to Omakau to play Matakanui Combined.