Old ri­vals pre­pare for bat­tle

Franklin County News - - SPORT -

The Coun­ties Power game of the week high­lights one of the old­est and strong­est ri­val­ries in Coun­ties rugby when Pa­tuma­hoe hosts Pukekohe at Pa­tuma­hoe Do­main on Satur­day at 2.45pm.

The two clubs share a long and sto­ried his­tory with many of the re­spec­tive play­ers grow­ing up to­gether, at­tend­ing school to­gether and even so­cial­is­ing to­gether over many decades.

Lo­cated just a few kilo­me­tres down the road from each other nu­mer­ous play­ers have spent time rep­re­sent­ing both clubs.

An­other chap­ter in that his­tory will be writ­ten as the two first round win­ners square off with the Coun­ties Power Cup up for grabs.

Pukekohe go into the match as favourites hav­ing played fi­nals rugby last year and on the back of an im­pres­sive first-up win over Karaka last week­end.

Coach Waka Seti­taia, in his first sea­son at the helm of the side, played for both clubs and has a good re­la­tion­ship with his Pa­tuma­hoe op­po­site Jeff Maka.

‘‘I was talk­ing to Jeff Maka, the Patty coach, and I asked him if they were all healthy,’’ Seti­taia said.

‘‘Ev­ery time we play them they grow and arm and a leg for that. We need to pre­pare for that. ‘‘It is al­ways hard to win there.’’ Maka like­wise knows the chal­lenge their neigh­bours present espe­cially af­ter his side was well be­low their best against Pa­pakura in week one.

‘‘We just have to go back to the draw­ing board at train­ing and do our home­work for Pukekohe,’’ Maka said.

‘‘It is go­ing to be tough but it is here at home so hope­fully our boys are go­ing to be up for it.’’

Both coaches agree the rivalry is a spe­cial one that is re­flected by mu­tual re­spect.

‘‘It is a good healthy rivalry and it all comes down to the play­ers,’’ Seti­taia said.

‘‘Guys play in sevens teams in the off-sea­son or touch or what­ever.

‘‘They form their lit­tle friend­ships and what­ever hap­pens on the field stays on the field and af­ter­wards they get to­gether for a beer or a lit­tle kava ses­sion and ev­ery­one gets to­gether and that is what you want to see as coaches.’’

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