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.