Taieri tipped to win Gallaway Trophy

The wrap

Southern did the business at home over an under strength GI outfit and is still well in sight of the six. GI has the bye this week which will help it as it still has players away. Taieri confirmed a top six spot when it thrashed AU and is less than even money to take top spot and win the Gallaway. Harbour deservedly beat the Sharks at Typhoon Central to bank its second win and remain in the hunt for the six. The Sharks suffered their first loss but destiny is in their hands. Varsity accounted for Zingers to post its first win, but it still has a mountain to climb. Zingers still has one hand on the spoon.

Heavyweights

It would have been great to have been a fly on the wall at the Metro club judiciary last week as the main combatants were some of the true heavyweights of club rugby in the borough. Lance (Abramovich) Spence was defending one of his Harbour players and sitting on the bench were Dennis (Jack) O’Dea and Gary (Wheels) Wheeler. Try as he might, Abramovich couldn’t get his man off as the two “heavies” refused to bow. It would be similar to Clarence Darrow facing the US Supreme Court in the 1920s. The banter among the protagonists was still going on in the Harbour club on Saturday night, but refereed by yours truly, thus ending amicably. I think it was helped by the fact Harbour had won the game!

Alarming signs

There have been a few defaults in town over the last few weeks and alarmingly we’ve had some in premier colts, where both AU and GI cried off last week against Kaik and Dunedin respectively. A lot of it has to do with the flu that is going round, but it will be a major concern for all if either of these sides doesn’t get back on the paddock this week. GI is firmly in the spotlight as this is the second week in succession. Three strikes and you’re out!

Changing of the guard

Varsity got beaten two weeks ago by Clutha in premier women’s rugby and Dunedin got beaten at the weekend. Admittedly both games were down in Balclutha, but is this now the powerhouse of the grade? Will keep a watchful eye on this as the competition is over in a flash, with finals not far away.

Turning Japanese

With the Highlanders’ sister club relationship with Mitsubishi, six Japanese players are winging their way to Dunners in early June and are being attached to six clubs in the hope they are good enough to play premier rugby. If this experiment works, we could see more next year, according to Highlanders GM Greg O’Brien. Let’s be fair: the more players we get into the clubs, the better off we are.

Surely it’s not true

The Cromwell Goats have lost three of their last four — surely not. After 21 straight wins, how can this happen? The Arrowtown Bulls held on at the week to deny the Goats yet again. Arrowtown heads to the big smoke to take on unbeaten Wakatipu this weekend, with the winner probably getting a home semi as the prize. This game is like Celtic v Rangers in its intensity. If you’re in Queenstown on Saturday, you could do worse than get along to the “Rec” to watch this classic encounter.

Some bits

The Hyde St party is on this weekend, so quite a few games are being played on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night this week. Let’s hope not too many players are out because of this. Let’s be honest, there is a keg party at Varsity most weekends, so just go to one of those. The Landers under-20s had a horror start, going down to the Barbarians on Sunday (to be fair, the Baabaas are stronger this year, with some over-age players), but they bounced back and accounted for the Blues on Wednesday — good work.

This weekend

Went down to Donny Cameron from Southern last week. I couldn’t get Man City over the line. On to big Crawf (Allan Crawford) from Kaik, who is definitely in the “have nots” camp in the big rift, so surely I get the “W” this week. The Sharks (13+) should be too strong across the park against Varsity in the game for the “Johnny Keogh”. The Eels (13+) at home at the Elver Pit should be comfortable victors over Southern. Just to help out, Shannon Frizell is suiting up. Up on the High Veldt, Kaik (12-) could get it done in the rarefied air. But the Harbour Hawks are getting better, so it could go down to the wire. Zingers is at home at Bastion Point, but AU (12-) should keep it winless. In the women’s game, I’m tipping AU (12-) might just beat high-flying Clutha at home, but it will be close.

Destroyed Wayne Soper from Alex last week and on to Leslie Clague from Heriot this week, so I’m supremely confident. Clinton (12-) will be too good at home for languishing Lawrence. Crescent (12-) just over the Prison Guards in the Coalmine. Heriot (12-) might just pip the Pigs but nearly too close to call. Clutha Valley (13+) make no race of it against Owaka.

paul.dwyer@alliedpress.co.nz

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