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Marist set sights on Marty


A clash between a table-topping team and the number three ranked side looms in round three of the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Cup tomorrow. Meanwhile, two teams will look to get their premier club competition seasons back on track after heavy defeats in round two.

Martinborough vs Marist


2.35pm [Steve Newson]

Two very different round two matches, but which produced the same outcome, will make for an intriguing encounter when Martinborough host Marist tomorrow.

Marist hit their straps on Old Timers Day to rack up 50 points against Greytown, and a below-par Martinborough had to dig deep to hold off a fired-up East Coast in Whareama.

Competition leaders Martinborough have had plenty to work on at training this week and will be hoping a few injury niggles will have been ironed out by the morning.

Martinborough won’t go into their shell, despite being put off their game by the Coasties last week.

Coach James Bruce says the squad haven’t looked back too much this week and will take tomorrow’s game in their stride.

“We will want to show a bit more patience through the game than we did last week, but we won’t be using the 10-man England style either.

“It’s better to get out there, enjoy your rugby, and grow in confidence. Maybe we don’t win every game as a consequence, but every player should know that they’ll get to have a crack in any given game.”

In a break from the norm, the Martinborough squad incorporated a long session of sheep dagging into
their training regime this week.

Marist retained the Nunn Shield last week and will put that on the line tomorrow.

Marist are on a five-game winning streak but know they must be at their best to take that streak to six.

Despite the big win against Greytown last week, assistant coach Peter Beech is mindful of how Martinborough can punish mistakes.

“We threw a few too many 50-50 passes last week, and they have an effective rush defence, so we will need to tighten up in that area.

“Our speed through second- and third-phase ball has improved a lot, and that urgency and attitude will be crucial. You can train as much as you want, but the willingness to get up off the deck and make another tackle has to come from within.”

Marist will have loose forward Rhys Severn back from suspension for tomorrow’s match.

It is Club Day at Martinborough tomorrow, and the fields will be filled with rugby from 9am through to the main game at 2.35pm. It might also mean a larger-than-normal crowd for what should be a cracking match.

PARKER’S PICK: The forecast is dry, which is perfect for 80 minutes of attacking footy. Perhaps it will come down to which side makes its tackles. Martinborough by 3.

Carterton vs East Coast


2.35pm [Peter Semmens]

Carterton could be forgiven for having a week of walking on cloud nine after amassing 11 converted tries at Pioneer in round two.

A fast-improving East Coast will likely help them get their feet back down to earth.

Carterton’s attacking prowess was seen right across the park last week, and it didn’t skip a beat when the reserves came off the bench.

East Coast, meanwhile, came within a whisker of upsetting Martinborough last week and, had they converted a late penalty, might have been feeling pretty good about themselves this week as well.

PARKER’S PICK: While I’m not expecting Carterton to run in another truckload of seven-pointers, they should have enough across the whole squad to get the competition points here. That said, I can’t help but wonder what East Coast might be capable of if they had even a couple more than the bare 15 players available for a match.

Gladstone vs Pioneer


2.35pm [Chris Jefferies]

Gladstone looked solid in picking up a win at Eketahuna last week after a close loss to Marist a week earlier. An organised defence and the ability to pick up points when they are on offer has Gladstone travelling somewhat under the radar currently.

There was no hiding for Pioneer last week, and there is sure to have been plenty of soul-searching at training. The Lane Penn Trophy finalists may be nursing some bruised egos but are likely to stick to their expensive approach regardless.

PARKER’S PICK: This is a tricky one because Gladstone on their home track present a stern challenge for any team, let alone a side coming off a significant loss. Pioneer will be hurting and won’t hold back, but Gladstone, if they make their tackles, could pick up the points. Gladstone by 6.

Greytown vs Eketahuna


2.35pm [Alistair Payne]

There’s a bit at stake in this fixture. Eketahuna will know that three straight losses will be hard to overcome if they still have ambitions of making the playoffs. Greytown will be of a similar mind, though they picked up a win in round one.

Eketahuna showed glimpses of the type of form they are capable of in a loss to Gladstone last week, and the scoreline may have flattered the victors somewhat.

Greytown was well in the contest at Marist last week, particularly in the first half, but lost shape and accuracy with the ball in hand as the match progressed.

Both sides will want to cut down on a turnover rate that has cost them too many points in recent weeks.

PARKER’S PICK: I can see Greytown bouncing back from a poor second half last week, but Eketahuna will be desperate to pick up a win and have been a bit unlucky at times this season. I’ll go with the home side, but not by too much.


Wairarapa Wahine Toa travel to Pahiatua tonight for a matchup with Bush Sports under lights.

After a long day at the office last week, Wahine Toa will be primed for a better performance. Better handling will go a long way to securing a much-needed victory.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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