A lot at stake for Cromwell

Hold the Cup first, clinch top spot as a bonus.

That is the order of priorities for the Cromwell Goats in their final round match of Central Otago premier rugby. They host Arrowtown as they look to hold on to the Whitehorse Cup.

They also have the chance to lock up top place on the table, heading into the round a single point ahead of Upper Clutha.

Either way, a home semifinal is guaranteed and that fuels the focus heading into tomorrow.

"We've got the home semi, so the Cup comes first," club captain Russell Decke said.

"If it's 3-0, it's 3-0, we'd be extremely happy with that.

"To finish top is just a bonus; to win the Cup back is the focus."

The Cup holds plenty of significance, in particular for Cromwell.

Its name had only been on it a handful of times and holding it through to the summer to get it on there again was motivation.

Even more motivation came in the fact that Arrowtown took it off Cromwell in the same game last year.

"Cromwell's only been on it three times, I think.

"It's the Ranfurly Shield-type mentality and you only get your name on it if you hold it at the end of the season."

Gaining parity up front would be key for Cromwell.

Arrowtown possesses arguably the best forward pack in the competition. It has a strong scrum and a solid lineout, to go with some handy backs.

Cromwell was also hoping to hold its own at set piece.

From there it would be able to unleash its handy backline, which has racked up plenty of points this year.

The side has a handy midfield combination in Hayden Todd and Rhys Harrold.

Inside them it has several strong performers, while Daniel Hurring has been superb at openside flanker and Stefan Blakeborough has captained the side well from lock.

There was plenty of quality competing for spots in the team, which was bringing out the best in everyone, Decke said.

"There's good players fighting for positions.

"It doesn't matter who we play, they're as good as each other. That keeps the team on the boil and keeping on turning up to training and everything.

"That comes into it now.

"We've had some good trainings - just an all-round based team."


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