A test of strength
THE depth and fitness of two of the best teams in Poverty Bay club rugby will be tested when they meet at the Oval tomorrow.
OBM and High School Old Boys are first and third on the Lee Bros Shield ladder and both have put away Round 1 winners YMP in the past two weeks.
But the names of some players who have led the way for their clubs will be missing from their team sheets tomorrow.
Players on the injured list for HSOB include backs Will Hocquard, Korey Love and Cory Reihana.
Competition leaders OBM will be without lock Juston Allen and centre Alin Zaharia and have question marks next to prop Lance Dickson, hooker Rikki Terekia, second five-eighth Mark Atkins and halfback Willy Grogan.
Both clubs have Senior 1 sides, so will be able to bring in cover, if needed.
Enterprise Cars OBM coach Trevor Crosby expects a tough contest.
“HSOB will bring physicality up front and they have really handy backs,” he said.
“We have to be competitive in scrums and lineouts and look after the ball in our backs.”
Earthwork Solutions HSOB coach Scott Leighton said his side were up against it.
“OBM are the top side,” he said.
“They have a big, big pack, and some good backs.”
The two clubs have some of the best loose forwards around, including openside flankers Stefan Destounis (HSOB) and Adrian Wyrill (OBM).
HSOB have probably the best scrum in the competition but OBM should have the edge in lineouts.
Each team’s first five-eighth — Jake Holmes for OBM and Baxter Mackay for HSOB — may need to take the lead for their backlines amid personnel changes.
OBM also have electric HSOB fullback Andrew Tauatevalu to worry about.
At Patutahi, Larsawn Ngatapa need to beat GT Shearing Waikohu to keep their season alive.
The teams had a 17-all draw the last time they met but Waikohu have improved since.
Waikohu sit in fourth place and Ngatapa are fifth, 10 competition points behind with three rounds of the regular season to play.
Ngatapa coach Steve Hickey said Waikohu had returned to the style of rugby that won them the title last season.
“Waikohu have really started playing that open brand of rugby again,” he said.
Waikohu first-five Kelvin Smith and centre Caleb Lewis looked good for the Poverty Bay rep team last week, so Ngatapa need to be alert.
“We’ve just got to front on defence,” Hickey said.
“We’ll have to target their forwards, and slow them down.”
Waikohu coach Jason Tuapawa said Ngatapa would be tough at home.
“They’ll probably come out firing.”
After two consecutive losses, YMP have a chance to get their season back on track when they play Kevin Hollis Glass Pirates-GMC at the Oval tomorrow.
Pirates-GMC were on the end of a thumping by Waikohu two weeks ago but they had good numbers at practice on Tuesday.
“We need to put forward our best effort,” Pirates-GMC player-coach Willie Waitoa said.
“For us, there are only three games left. We’ll have a debrief at the end of the season.”