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Varsity crushed Taieri up front to make it two straight but is still four points out of the four. Southern consigned AU to its fifth straight loss and is two points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the comp. Kaik nearly hit 70 for the second week in a row but gave up 40 to Zingers in a no-tackle affair in honour of Easter. GI dispatched Dunedin to maintain its place in the four. The Sharks' season looks to be over and it's only week five!
In the big game of the weekend in Arrowtown, Wakatipu somehow beat the home side by a point to lift the White Horse and put a serious dent in the Bulls' anniversary celebrations.
The Arrow experience
The day dawned cold and wet and with a high noon kick-off I was not sure what to expect in terms of crowd for the Horse on Saturday. I shouldn't have worried as the ground was bulging with spectators. Arrow conspired to lose after owning the Wakatipu pack for most of it. It ruled the scrums and the Wakatip lineout was way off. If only Arrow could punt, it surely would have won. But the occasion was marvellous - country rugby at its finest.
Local MP and ref Hamish Walker told me he wanted a draw as both clubs were in his electorate! Simon Spark the president, the player, the manager, the fundraiser, the barman, the cook, the bottle-washer was not surprisingly made a life member at the function that night. Well deserved, mate.
The Collins family
A very interesting addition to the game was Michael Collins, the Otago captain and Blues player who played his first game for Wakatipu since a schoolboy, in his comeback from injury. He set up a couple of tries with pinpoint passing and scored one himself. I'm saying right now he is the only player to hold the Ranfurly Shield and the Horse at the same time. I chatted with Wakatipu stalwart and father Kelvin Collins and he confided that he may have been responsible for helping Arrowtown set up 30 years ago. He was coaching Wakatipu at the time and in his wisdom didn't put a lot of the Arrow boys in his starting line-up. Thus they got the hump and set up in opposition! Great to see a Super player going back to his roots.
An interesting perspective
"Potter", the Central coach and selector, was running the touch in the game so was little help to ref Walker as most of the time he had his notebook and pen out with the flag stuffed down his shirt! The players gave him no cheek, though, and he certainly understood the phrase "job-sharing".
Professional rugby - really?
So the union and the coach tried to tell us it was an advantage to have coaches, players and medics away with Rapid Rugby in Asia rather than plying their trade in Dunedin club rugby. They would come back better players.
Well, I had the misfortune to watch the Asia Pacific Dragons v South China Tigers. There is an hour I'll never get back. It was genuinely poor, similar to lower grades in town. The supposed star was Sirelli Bobo - a 42-year-old Fijian winger. Who is kidding whom?
Destroyed prop Alex Nettleton from Zingers with a draw so 40 points all after week one. On to Eels prop Cameron Allan-McNeill this week so surely I edge ahead. The GI Spannerheads (12-) visit the Magpies and I'm picking they upset the comp leaders if they contain Mackenzie Haugh. Kaik (13+) will consign AU to six straight losses. The Eels (13+) will get back on track over Zingers at the Elver pit. The Hawks (12-) are at Pipi Park and might have the all-round game to get it done over Varsity.
- Paul Dwyer