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Williams calls on Coasties’ spirit

Masterton Red Star
vs East Coast

Colombo Road, 7pm [Shay O’Gorman]

Just getting a team on the paddock for tonight’s clash against the confident Masterton Red Star Rams is a challenge for East Coast coach Guy Williams.

The Coasties have been smashed with injuries, with several front liners missing with injuries. They include Wairarapa Bush loose forward Matt Perry, experienced prop Terry Norman, loose forward Henry Williams, and utility back Perry Lewis.

On the plus side, influential inside back Jack Wakeling returns, and with the senior reserves having no game over King’s Birthday Weekend, there is enough depth to cover their absence.

“We’ve got the nucleus of a team, but we’ve still got seven or eight out,” Williams said.

“We’re just getting there with the heart of the boys, with passion, and they just want to play rugby; we’ve got a game plan that is suiting us now and having Jack back is going to help.”

Despite their current struggles, Williams believes it’s important to keep fronting up because the players are the future of the club.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys coming through; a lot of good 18, 19, and 20-year-olds, and there is so much talent out there.”

The Rams come into the game with newfound confidence after their first win of the season and their first premier win since 2012, a 32–19 defeat of Greytown on Saturday.

The Coasties won their first-round encounter 18–17 after the Rams missed a conversion that could have won them the game, and Williams anticipates another titanic struggle.

“They were pretty tough last time in the forwards, and I think that we have to protect our ball a lot better than we did last time,” Williams said.

“They’ll have their tails up, and they’ve done bloody well, and on their home turf, it’s going to be a good old battle for us.”

COGGIE’S PREDICTION: The buoyant Rams might just make it two in a row.

Marist vs Carterton

Trust House Memorial Park,
7pm [Alistair Payne]

The game of the round between two form teams that like to throw the ball around promises to be a high-scoring humdinger on the artificial turf.

Both teams are coming off big wins; Carterton 45–19 over Lane Penn Cup champions Martinborough, and Marist 57–12 over a disappointing Pioneer.

Carterton easily won their first-round clash 35–19, but it’s hard to see a repeat of that, with Marist having improved significantly since then.

The “green and whites” backline is gelling with their younger players, winger Hayden Cooper and midfield brothers Charles and Willy Mataitai, dynamic will ball in hand, while the old head Tafa Tafa is a steadying influence whether at first-five or fullback.

Carterton have plenty of attacking threats of their own, with the dangerous Aseri Waqa and Fiula Tameilau, who have often been paired in the midfield and the speedy Bili Leberi on the wing, while the Fijian magician Inia Katia has found a new lease of life since reverting to halfback.

The forward packs look to be evenly matched with captain and lock Tom Campbell in fine form for Marist, while there are few better front-rowers than Sam Siaosi and Stan Wright Jnr at setpiece or in the open where the pair are damaging ball carriers.

Carterton have their own wrecking ball in Tupou Lea’aemanu, at either prop or No. 8, while the promising Will Kloeg is making a good fist of the prop role in his first year out of college.

COGGIE’S PREDICTION: It’s really difficult to separate the two, but for the sake of picking a winner, Marist, but only just.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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