Arrowtown not counting Clyde out

Wakatipu's Henry Youngman on the charge during his team's win over Clyde-Earnscleugh at the Queenstown Recreation Ground on Saturday. Wakatipu won 24-0. Photo by Blair Pattinson.
Wakatipu's Henry Youngman on the charge during his team's win over Clyde-Earnscleugh at the Queenstown Recreation Ground on Saturday. Wakatipu won 24-0. Photo by Blair Pattinson.
The unbeaten Arrowtown rugby team expects a big challenge from a desperate Clyde-Earnscleugh this weekend.

Arrowtown coach Drew Carmody said fifth-placed Clyde would be a tough prospect at home this Saturday, in the final game of the first round of the Central Otago Premier competition.

Clyde had to win to ensure it stayed in the competition's top six, Carmody said.

''It's a must-win for Clyde. It's definitely going to be a tough game.''

His players also had plenty of motivation.

They wanted to keep their unbeaten run going throughout the first half of the season, and wanted to hold on to the Speight's Challenge Cup for another week before, before the competition was split into two sections.

''It's definitely important for us to finish off well.''

Arrowtown beat Upper Clutha B 57-3 in Frankton on Friday to put it eight points ahead and guaranteed to finish the first half of the season top of the standings.

However, Carmody's initial 28-man squad has been hit by several season-ending injuries, and is now operating with a bare minimum of 22 players.

Arrowtown has a particular shortage of backs.

Although Upper Clutha B had a lot of young players, they had ''fought pretty well'', Carmody said.

Despite the one-sided scoreline, the game had left his players with plenty to work on.

''We played pretty well. We played to our structure and our game plan but we had far too many handling errors.''

Clyde, along with Cromwell A and Roxburgh, are competing for the last two spots in the competition's top six.

Wakatipu captain Steve Bruce said his side was feeling confident, coming off a bonus-point 24-0 win over Clyde in Queenstown at the weekend.

''We've been struggling to get into a groove, but I felt we did that last Saturday.

''Our backline is coming into its own.''

Wakatipu will play Alexandra at home this Saturday, and although Alexandra had no chance of making the top six, he expected it to put in a good performance.

''Hopefully they don't see it as a dead rubber''.

His side was feeling confident after running in four tries at the weekend, and would be bolstered by the return of several players from injury or unavailability.