Ex­cite­ment builds for semi­fi­nals

Marlborough Midweek - - FRONT PAGE - MAR­TYN VERCOE

The Wad­sco Mo­tor­world semi­fi­nal seed­ings are all locked in and we’re ready for some en­thralling ac­tion at rugby head­quar­ters (Lans­downe Park) this week­end.

Waitohi play Moutere and Ren­wick tackle East Coast to try and book a place in the sub union grand fi­nal on Queen’s Birth­day week­end.

In the first semi at 1.15pm, Waitohi, who fin­ished the round robin in se­cond place, draw swords against Moutere the third qual­i­fiers.

Waitohi will be buoyed by a good vic­tory over East Coast last week­end in which they came home in the se­cond half with a wet sail.

Key play­ers such as hooker Ray Nuia and in­side back Tim O’Mal­ley stamped their mark on last week’s game and will have to do so again when they play the Mag­pies if Waitohi are to take home the spoils.

Moutere have a num­ber of big game play­ers in their out­fit that form a use­ful spine, these play­ers such as Ver­non Fred­er­icks, Ben Finau and Mike Curry tend to step up in big matches so they will be more than com­pet­i­tive against Waitohi.

In semi­fi­nals it’s the team that makes the most of their scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that nor­mally pre­vail so things like goal kick­ing could be the dif­fer­ence in this match.

If you look at the points ta­ble go­ing into this match you would pre­dict a com­fort­able win to Ren­wick, but I think this match will be just as tight as the early semi. Some clubs have bo­gey teams and I get a sense that East Coast have the tools to threaten Ren­wick.

The Coast­ers are the only team to knock over the Green Ma­chine this sea­son and if they can hold it to­gether for 80 min­utes an up­set is on the cards. Ren­wick need to keep pos­ses­sion against the Coast­ers and be pa­tient be­cause if they give the ball away then they might not get it back much as East Coast are very good at keep­ing hold of the ball and are nice and com­mit- ted at the break­down.

Again, the re­sult of this game could come down to luck, the bounce of the ball or who kicks their goals.

One thing is for sure, all the teams in the Wad­sco Mo­tor­world semi­fi­nals have great fans who will in­vade Lans­downe Park on Satur­day. It’s awe­some to see all the club colours and lis­ten to the good­willed ban­ter on such a day. It’s days like this that make com­mu­nity grass­roots rugby so spe­cial.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/FAIR­FAX NZ

Moutere will be hop­ing for a big per­for­mance from half back, Ben Finau in their semi­fi­nal against Waitohi (file photo).

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