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Margin of victory not important

Carterton’s Corey McFadzean is swamped by Gladstone defenders in last week’s match. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

It doesn’t matter if you triumph by 30 points or one point, as long as you win.

Gladstone premier rugby coach Steve Thompson has been relaying that message in recent weeks to his squad, who remain unbeaten after nine rounds of Tui Cup action.

There have been some close calls – they beat Marist 41-36 two weeks ago and Carterton 22-20 on Saturday – but they still count as wins on the points table.

Thompson said the campaign had started positively in pre-season and carried through into the Tui Cup.

“It became a little bit evident we were going a bit better than normal, and we’re carrying on and adding to it as we go.

“I am really pleased with how it’s going.”

The first round is where teams get a good look at each other, but it was the second round that is usually the most important.

Teams know each other and the way they play by that point, and adapting your game plan appropriately becomes vital.

“Marist aren’t in the top four but they gave us a heck of a game a couple of weeks ago,” Thompson said.

“It was a big contrast from the first round.”

Carterton pushed Gladstone to the limit on Saturday, and it was only a missed conversion at the end that cost them a draw.

This week Gladstone will host second-placed Greytown, and Thompson said they would have to be prepared for a torrid battle once again.

“We’ve got to keep our nerve and keep our minds in the right place and play the game.

“We’re not pushing any further than normal – we’re just making sure we do things better and work harder at it.”

The longer the unbeaten streak lasts, the more teams will be determined to knock them over.

“We always keep it in the back of our minds that you want to stay ahead of the field.

“Everyone will come at us at 100 miles an hour, so if we crack then so be it, but we’re pretty mindful.”

Greytown have only lost one match this season – 26-16 to Gladstone earlier in the season – and are on an impressive seven-match winning streak.

In today’s other matches, East Coast and Eketahuna should be fairly evenly matched at Whareama, while Carterton will be confident of banking five points at home against Red Star and Martinborough will be keen to bring Marist’s run of impressive performances to a halt at Martinborough.

Today’s draw, home team first

Premier [all matches 2.35pm]: Gladstone v Greytown [Alistair Payne]; East Coast v Eketahuna [Atene Karauria]; Carterton v Red Star [Ryan Hardman]; Martinborough v Marist [Scott Andrew].

Senior reserves: Eketahuna v Martinborough at 1pm; East Coast v Tuhirangi at 1pm; Pioneer OB v Gladstone 1pm; Carterton v Featherston at 1pm; Greytown v Pioneer at 1pm; Puketoi v Marist at 1.30pm.

Secondary schools: Rathkeale v St Paul’s at 11.30am; Wairarapa College v Kapiti at noon.

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