Bat­tle of the basin ban­ter as fi­nal looms

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

Af­ter a last-gasp semi-fi­nal win, the shack­les are off and Wakatipu are peak­ing at the right time, their coach says.

The Queen­stown-based side will con­test an all-Wakatipu basin Cen­tral Otago rugby fi­nal this weekend af­ter cross-town ri­val Ar­row­town also won its semi­fi­nal.

Wakatipu se­cured its place with an ex­tra time try to over­come de­fend­ing cham­pion and White Horse Cup holder Cromwell 25-20 at the Queen­stown Recre­ation Ground on Satur­day.

Ar­row­town got a 25-20 win over Man­iototo on Sun­day at the Queen­stown Events Cen­tre af­ter the match was de­layed a day due to weather.

Wakatipu coach Justin Pe­whairangi said be­ing able to ‘‘score a few’’ against Cromwell en­abled more con­fi­dence af­ter an up-and-down sec­ond round.

The play­ers and coach­ing staff were just ‘‘re­lieved’’ to have made the fi­nal, he said.

‘‘I think the ex­pec­ta­tions have been play­ing on the boys’ minds for a while now.

‘‘The last three years have been a bit lean [tro­phy wise].’’

The last time the two sides met in a fi­nal was in 2011 when Wakatipu won in Alexan­dra.

In two pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters this year, the teams have split wins.

Pe­whairangi ex­pected there to be noth­ing be­tween the teams in Queen­stown on Satur­day.

‘‘Who­ever takes their chances will win the game.

‘‘I think it will be very much like the semi against Cromwell.

‘‘When we get those chances, we’ve got to take them.’’

Slow­ing down Ar­row­town’s loose trio would be key and Wakatipu’s ex­pan­sive game plan would not change much.

Bat­tle of the basin ban­ter had al­ready started, with most play­ers from the re­spec­tive sides know­ing each other, he said.

A large crowd was ex­pected for the first home fi­nal for any team in seven years. The competition had pre­vi­ously fea­tured a ‘‘fi­nals day’’ spread among clubs in the re­gion.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be good,’’ Pe­whairangi said. ‘‘It will be good for the club.’’

Ar­row­town coach Si­mon Spark felt his side would be ‘‘up against it’’ and it would be a ‘‘mas­sive chal­lenge’’ to win.

‘‘We’ll have to be at our very best to beat them.’’

❚ Kick off is 2.30pm.

KATRINA MAXWELL

Wakatipu and Cromwell for­wards pre­pare to set a scrum dur­ing Satur­day’s premier rugby semi-fi­nal in Queen­stown.

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