Malakai Walker [red and white] has been a solid performer for East Coast in their unbeaten run. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

East Coast and Greytown have the all-important home advantage for the Wairarapa-Bush senior reserve Ryan Cup semifinals to be played on Saturday.

East Coast take on Carterton and Greytown host Puketoi in the two cross-zone playoffs.

The Coasties won the North Zone and have been a revelation under the coaching of former Wai-Bush coach Richie Robertson, going unbeaten over the five preliminary rounds.

The closest the Coasties have been pushed is a 7-5 win in the second round. Maybe the best indication of their prowess was their 38-5 defeat of fellow semifinalists Puketoi.

Carterton have been a mixed bag, recording comprehensive victories over Featherston, Martinborough, and Gladstone, but have been on the wrong end of hidings from Puketoi [12-52] and Greytown [0-62].

With a big Whareama crowd behind them, East Coast look likely to book a place in the final.

Greytown won the South Zone with four wins from their five games. Their only loss was a last-minute 17-18 defeat to Gladstone.

Otherwise, they have rarely been tested and have posted half-century scores against the opposition.

Puketoi won four of their five preliminary games, the only loss coming against East Coast.

Wai-Bush’s northernmost club are perennial playoff contenders and depending on the availability of the farmers in their squad, have the depth to test Greytown.

In saying that though, Greytown have proved a difficult nut to crack in the grade and will start warm favourites to retain their title.

The Ryan Cup final will be played at Trust House Memorial Park on Friday, August 14, at 7.30pm.

In the President’s Cup semifinals, Marist are favoured to beat Martinborough, after winning last Saturday’s encounter 31-0, and Gladstone should have the edge over Eketahuna.

The final will be played on Saturday, August 15 at a yet-to-be-determined venue.