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Martinborough out to right ship

Martinborough’s Nikora Ewe is tackled by Gladstone’s Eddie Cranston and Epeli Rayaqayaqa last weekend. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

It will be a case of two sides chasing different goals when Martinborough host Greytown in the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union’s final round of Moose Kapene Cup matches today.

Martinborough’s focus will be on getting back to winning ways after suffering consecutive defeats, while Greytown will simply be looking to run with the momentum they have gained in their three-match winning streak.

Martinborough put up a strong fight against Gladstone last weekend and created plenty of opportunities with the ball in hand.

They are always a potent force in the backline, but winning enough possession to play in the right parts of the field will be crucial to their cause.

In Tim Priest they have a first five-eighth who is more than capable of directing them around the field, and if they can win the territory battle they will have confidence in their backs to get them over the line.

Centre Tipene Haira and fullback Reece Calkin looked particularly dangerous against Gladstone, but they can only work their magic if the forwards can dominate up front.

Hooker James Pakoti scored a double last week, but it will be up to those around him to help lay the platform for their attacking threats in the backline.

Greytown’s 21-10 win over Carterton last weekend showed how far they have come in the last few weeks, after what was a slow start to the season.

Their only loss of the season came four weeks ago against Gladstone, and they also had an 8-all draw in the first round against East Coast.

The work will start up front for Greytown, who will be hoping to deny Martinborough any quality possession to unleash their backline.

Their defensive systems will be put under pressure from a Martinborough team that enjoy throwing the ball around and coping with that unorthodox approach will be the key to unsettling the home
team’s rhythm.

Marist’s battle with Eketahuna at Memorial Park No 2 could make for interesting viewing, and both teams will see this match as an opportunity to add to their win tally.

On paper at least, today’s other matches should be fairly straightforward.

Frontrunners Gladstone should have too much firepower when they take on the winless Masterton Red Star outfit on the turf at Memorial Park.

Masterton Red Star’s statistics do not make for encouraging reading, and they will go into the match with a points differential of -294 through their six matches to date.

Carterton will host an East Coast side that suffered a disappointing loss to Marist last weekend, and should be too strong on their home patch.

All premier matches kick off at 2.35pm.

Today Wairarapa-Bush also has its annual exchange of referees with the Wellington Rugby Union.

Wellington referee Ben Van Berkel will officiate the match between Masterton Red Star and Gladstone, while Alex Blakeway will take control of the Marist v Tuhirangi senior reserves match.

The exchange is designed to provide opportunity for Wairarapa-Bush referees to expand their skill-set and aid their development by officiating around the country.

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