Fi­nal prom­ises to be close clash

Auckland City Harbour News - - Sport - By Scott Morgan

Gram­mar Carl­ton and Pon­sonby clash in a lo­cal rugby derby to­mor­row in the fi­nal of the in­au­gu­ral Waka Nathan Cup.

It’s the first time the pre­sea­son tour­na­ment has run in the re­vamped sin­gle-di­vi­sion com­pe­ti­tion.

But it’s tough to pre­dict who will take out the first ma­jor ti­tle of the sea­son, with last year’s club cham­pi­ons Pon­sonby scrap­ing through to the fi­nal with a 12-12 draw against Waitakere last week­end.

They qual­i­fied by scor­ing the first try of the match.

Pon­sonby coach Si­mon Scott says his team didn’t play well against Waitakere.

But he is con­fi­dent they can come out on top in the fi­nal.

“We’re go­ing in to win,” he says.

How­ever, Scott is wary of Gram­mar Carl­ton who beat Waitem­ata 53-5 in the other semi­fi­nal.

“They’re a well coached team and they’ve got some good ball run­ners,” he says.

Gram­mar Carl­ton coach Bran­don Jack­son says the match will be an “arm wres­tle” but ad­mits the tus­sle has a dif­fer­ent feel to it com­pared with a nor­mal com­pe­ti­tion game.

“We view this com­pe­ti­tion as more about get­ting the squad in tune,” he says.

“On the other hand it is a fi­nal and we want to win it.

“We don’t take any­thing with Waka Nathan’s name at­tached to it lightly.”

In other ac­tion Eden Roskill lost 14-8 to Pa­p­a­toe­toe in the semi­fi­nal of the Pol­lard Cup last Satu­day.

The game saw losers from the first round of the Waka Nathan Cup take on one an­other in a sec­ondary com­pe­ti­tion.

Mean­while, Avon­dale and New Lynn-based Sub­urbs thumped Manukau 76-13 for the other place in the Pol­lard Cup fi­nal.

Pon­sonby will take on Gram­mar Carl­ton in the fi­nal of the Waka Nathan Cup at Cox’s Bay Re­serve on Satur­day, while Sub­urbs play Pa­p­a­toe­toe in the Pol­lard Cup fi­nal at Kingswood Re­serve.

Both games start at 2.45pm.

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