Greytown flanker Chaz Matthews back passes to halfback Hamish Meyrick during their team’s 34-10 win over Martinborough last Saturday. PHOTO/KYLIE ALEXANDER
By Gary Caffell
The possibility of an upset can’t be ignored when Eketahuna hosts defending champions Greytown in a Wairarapa-Bush Tui Cup premier division rugby match under lights at Eketahuna tonight, kicking off at
On the basis of first round form the odds might seem to heavily favour Greytown which kicked off their season last weekend with a 34-10 blitzing of Martinborough while Eketahuna didn’t even manage a bonus point in their 24-15 loss to Marist.
There was enough sting in the Eketahuna tail, however, for them to take some confidence away from their performance.
As was to be expected their loosies, especially Johan Van Vliet and Brendan Campbell, were prominent, both with the venom in their close quarter defence and their aggression with ball in hand.
And there was clear promise too in the manner which the front five applied themselves in the tighter exchanges where they earned parity with an impressive Marist eight in most departments.
If the forecasted wet weather for the next couple of days is correct then tonight’s game could come down to which of the two packs gains the ascendancy.
A Greytown unit spearheaded by old heads like Kurt Simmonds and Regan Pope won’t lack anything on the score of ruggedness either but the prospect of heavy footing does give Eketahuna greater cause for optimism because it would largely nullify any advantage Greytown would be expected to have in the outside backs.
Enough optimism, in fact, to suggest there could be precious little between the two sides come the end of the 80 minutes.
All three of the other premier division games will be played on Saturday with the Munn Shield being at stake when Gladstone and Carterton do battle at Gladstone.
Having racked up 50 points against East Coast last Saturday Gladstone will be in good heart but they will also know that Carterton will be an entirely different kettle of fish than a depleted East Coast side which apparently had a number of usual forwards playing in the backs.
Carterton, for their part, will probably still be kicking themselves that they didn’t come away with maximum points against Pioneer, having allowed the latter to even things up 22-all with a converted try in the dying stages of the game.
A couple of new faces in flanker Ethan Pinfold and midfield back Siona Va’eno made a good impression for them and it will be interesting to see if they can further enhance their reputations against a Gladstone side which will be relying on their forwards to dominate possession.
For the second successive Saturday there will be no premier division match on the artificial turf at Memorial Park with Pioneer scheduled to meet Martinborough at the Jeans street grounds.
No doubt Martinborough will be eyeing this game as an ideal opportunity to bounce back quickly from their hefty defeat by Greytown while Pioneer will want to be more accurate in their attacking play than they were in the draw with Carterton.
Their No.8 Jonte Miller had a big game there and Martinborough will need to keep him in check or suffer dire consequences.
Marist will be heavily favoured to make it two wins from as many matches when they travel to Whareama to lock horns with East Coast.
The latter are battling unavailabilities and injuries and while the home ground advantage will be a help it’s hard to imagine them staying in touch with a Marist side which looks to have good depth in backs and forwards.