Ex­pe­ri­ence key in White Horse vic­tory


Man­iototo cap­tain Tim O’Neill be­lieves his side’s White Horse Cup ex­pe­ri­ence was a fac­tor in the top­pling of com­pe­ti­tion lead­ers Wakatipu.

The Ran­furly-based side won the match 20-18 in front of a large crowd in Queen­stown on Satur­day mark­ing the sec­ond time this sea­son they have held the most sought-af­ter prize in Cen­tral Otago rugby.

‘‘I think we went up there as underdogs,’’ O’Neill said. ‘‘But it all came off re­ally well.’’

The col­lo­qui­ally-named Mag­gots were the hold­ers of the cup last year but lost it in a roundone thriller against Ar­row­town back in March. A team with the White Horse Cup puts in on the line in home games for all roundrobin matches. The holder at the end of the round-robin has their name en­graved on it.

Down 13-6 at half­time, O’Neill praised his side’s abil­ity to claw back the deficit, es­pe­cially the for­ward pack.

‘‘It was a pretty tough bat­tle up front re­ally.’’

O’Neill said de­fend­ing it for pos­si­bly an­other four matches, in­clud­ing against Wakatipu again in the fi­nal round-robin match, would be tough.

‘‘There’s a few guys in there with a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence of it so that should hold us in good stead,’’ he said.

Wakatipu coach Justin Pe­whairangi said his team were ‘‘a bit gut­ted’’ at los­ing the cup just a week af­ter snatch­ing it from cross-town ri­val Ar­row­town.

‘‘We de­fended a lot of the game. ‘‘We didn’t take the op­por­tu­ni­ties we should have. ‘‘That’s rugby isn’t it?’’ Man­iototo ‘‘love the White Horse and love the chal­lenge’’ so his side knew they would come to win, Pe­whairangi said.

In the sec­ond half, Wakatipu ‘‘lost all our shape and the ef­fort wasn’t there’’, he said.

‘‘We weren’t ac­cu­rate enough.’’ How­ever, Pe­whairangi was pleased his side fin­ished the first round at the top of the ta­ble and the team would sit down and set some goals for the re­main­der of the sea­son.

Man­iototo will de­fend the White Horse Cup against Cly­deEarn­scle­ugh on June 10. They play Ar­row­town at the Queen­stown Events Cen­tre this Satur­day while Wakatipu plays Matakanui Com­bined in Queen­stown.

Other matches see Cly­deEarn­scle­ugh play Up­per Clutha in Clyde and Cromwell at home to Alexan­dra.

Man­iototo play­ers, from Left, Matt Holmes, An­drew Hore and Nick Hayes bask in White Horse Cup glory in Queen­stown on Satur­day.

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