Picking Kurow, Valley

Athletic Marist lock Epineri Logavatu looks for gaps in the Old Boys defence during the Citizens...
Athletic Marist lock Epineri Logavatu looks for gaps in the Old Boys defence during the Citizens Shield game in Oamaru on Saturday. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN
Four will become two after tomorrow’s semifinals in the Citizens Shield.

Here is all you need to know about the clashes, both of which kick off at 2.30pm.

Kurow v Athletic Marist

Where: Kurow.

Round robin: Athletic 34-26, Kurow 35-28.

Why Kurow will win: Defending champion, top qualifier, playing at home — and did we mention the presence of arguably the best backline to grace North Otago club rugby in a decade? If the pure class of Hayden Parker and Matt Faddes, and the game-breaking ability of Hayden Todd, has any say, this will be one-way traffic. Kurow has the best support in the district, too, and you can imagine the Red Devils will be boosted by the Waitaki Valley faithful as they seek a third final appearance in five seasons.

Why Athletic Marist will win: Do you believe in miracles? Yes. It has been a lean decade or so for the traditional powerhouse but the club has done a nice job rebuilding around some fine young men. Athies beat Kurow on its home ground earlier this season, and posted victories over all three fellow semifinalists, including a clutch come-from-behind win over Old Boys in the final round. If Paea Fifita and company can do their work in the tight-loose, and Ryley MacColl gets some space in the midfield, the upset is possible.

Meikle’s prediction: Kurow 32-18. My wee mate Mason Kinzett will let me know what he thinks about this. But I just can’t see the Kurow all-stars missing the final.

Old Boys v Valley

Where: Whitestone Contracting Stadium.

Round robin: Old Boys 38-24, Old Boys 40-24.

Why Old Boys will win: Because if they play well, they win. They have solid veterans, classy athletes, X-factor players — if it all comes together, watch out. Junior Fakatoufifita loves the tryline, Tini Feke is playing his way into the North Otago No9 jersey, and you just know Kelepi Funaki and Manulua Taiti will be primed and ready.

Why Valley will win: Four of the past five finals have featured the men from Weston, so they know how to win. Valley might not have many superstars but it knows exactly what to do under pressure. Sam Sturgess is back, and he will inspire a forward pack that just gets the job done. Jake Matthews needs to get the backline firing so Asesela Ravuvu and Isaac Clunie can get opportunities.

Meikle’s prediction: This will get me into trouble with various uncles ... Valley 26-25. It will be a bunfight, but Valley will grind it out to set up a repeat of last year’s final.

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