The banter’s building ahead of tomorrow’s Arrowtown v Wakatipu Premiers Battle of the Basin rugby game in Arrowtown — not least between the rival skippers.

Speaking this week, Wakatipu co-captain Tom Ria and Arrowtown captain Ryan Egerton were both eager to claim they’re underdogs.

Mindful Arrowtown won the ‘battle’ in Queenstown last year — albeit their first win over Wakatipu in five years — Ria says ‘‘absolutely’’ his team’s the dark horse heading to Jack Reid Park this weekend.

Arrowtown, he notes, has good coaches and a good team, ‘‘and you’ve got ‘Nudge’ [Egerton] lead ing the charge, so we’re definitely coming in as underdogs’’.

In response, Egerton says ‘‘I can’t disagree more with Tom’’.

‘‘Wakatipu have won two in a row [this season] and we haven’t won a game, so definitely take that under dog status off me mate here.’’

Arrowtown lost their first game to Alexandra 39-26, then had a bye last weekend.

‘‘It was a bit of a shame having the bye as we had 10 debutants so it would have been nice to get another run round before we came across a big powerhouse like Wakatipu, but I’m sure we’ll be up for it this Saturday,’’ Egerton says.

And, especially after only winning three games last season, he’s definitely hoping to notch a ‘W’.

‘‘We want to show the competition we are here to have a crack this year and not just get the wooden spoon, so we’ll be having a red-hot go.

‘‘There’s a few hecklers in Arrowtown, so hopefully they’ll come out on Saturday and have a real go.’’

Ball-spotter: Wakatipu’s Logan Beggs hunts the ball during last Saturday’s game at the Queenstown Rec Ground, which Wakatipu won 41-25

Wakatipu beat Cromwell away, 19-17, then overcame Maniototo 41-25 at home last Saturday.

‘‘We had a big pre-season, and then a few good hit-outs, so hopefully we can get a [third] win.’’

‘‘We played well, I think, both games,’’ Ria says, ‘‘but the first we won by two points, so, not overly convincing, and then the last game, we got an intercept try in the last play, from our own line.

Arrowtown host Wakatipu Prems at Jack Reid Park tomorrow, kick-off 2.30pm.

But wait, there’s more

For an extra dose of enrtainment, turn up two hours early tomorrow.

At 12.30pm, the inaugural Battle of the Basin Golden Oldies fixture will kick off, featuring former players from past ‘battles’.

It’s the brainchild of several ex-players including Wakatipu club president Brett Anderson and his Arrowtown counterpart Dan Eyles, with the idea being it’s the curtainraiser to the first annual Wakatipu v Arrowtown game which usually alternates between Arrowtown and Queenstown.

Anderson: ‘‘It will be pretty lighthearted for about the first five seconds until someone gets a shoulder on, and then you expect a few guys to remember what it used to be like.

‘‘I’m sure the first 20 will see some fire works, and the last 20 it might get a hell of a lot slower.’’

Eyles adds: ‘‘There’s been a lot of interest and talk from old players, whether they can back the talk up and still have the ability to play rugby is another question.’’

A couple of key Arrowtown players will be veteran Aidan Winter who’ll team up with his brother Reece for the first time in ages.

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