By PHILIP CHANDLER
Wakatipu Premiers kicked off their rugby season with a pleasing away win against Alexandra last weekend but face a stern test tomorrow.
They’re at home to last season’s Central Otago champs, Cromwell Goats, who showed they’re again a force by last weekend beating Arrowtown — finalists last year — 33-17.
‘‘They’re the top side so I definitely wouldn’t call us favourites, but we’re definitely capable,’’ Wakatipu coach Brett Anderson says.
‘‘They and Upper Clutha are looking sharp at this time of the year.
‘‘We don’t really know where we’re at compared to them, so it’s a good opportunity to see where the benchmark is, and look at where we need to be in the later part of this year.’’
Anderson says he was ‘‘pretty happy’’ with his side’s 31-7 victory against a ‘‘fired-up’’ Alexandra, especially as they hadn’t had a lot of footy.
‘‘We showed good structure, but there was still plenty to improve on.’’
Debutant fullback Chris Talanoa and hooker Jake McEwan impressed, ‘‘but everyone sort of did their bit in the end’’.
Kickoff for tomorrow’s game against Cromwell is 2.30pm at the Queenstown Rec Ground.
Arrowtown coach Dan Eyles says despite the scoreline, ‘‘we were there or thereabouts’’ against Cromwell.
‘‘It’s just our mistakes probably let us down, and that’s what Cromwell capitalised on.’’
Their lack of game time probably told, he admits.
Eyles says Cromwell’s midfield and loosies ‘‘are definitely their [strengths] so if Wakatipu can sort of counteract those areas they’re a good chance’’.
Arrowtown are away to Cromwell again this Saturday to play their second-tier Cavaliers.
Going by the Cavaliers’ draw against Maniototo last weekend, ‘‘they’re definitely not a team to take lightly’’, Eyles says.
After their games this weekend, Arrowtown and Wakatipu clash in Queenstown next Saturday in the annual ‘Battle of the Basin’.
Meanwhile, Wakatipu’s women’s side went down 39-34 to Eastern Albion last Sunday.