Kaikorai in charge of its own destiny

University hooker Kilipati Lea is caught from behind by Southern prop Jone Lesi as Southern...
University hooker Kilipati Lea is caught from behind by Southern prop Jone Lesi as Southern hooker Jack Clement (right) looms at the University of Otago Oval last Saturday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Kaikorai will not change its approach when it heads to Watson Park to take on Harbour tomorrow.

Kaikorai is in a shoot-out with Southern over which side qualifies for the final spot in the top four.

Both teams are on 46 points meaning the winner tomorrow will bag fourth spot in the competition.

Southern will take on Alhambra-Union at the North Ground.

If both Kaikorai and Southern finish on the same number of points, the team with the better differential will go through.

That advantage sits with Kaikorai which has a positive points differential of 75 while Southern has a negative 33-points differential.

Kaikorai co-coach Roger Cotton said Kaikorai had the advantage of being in charge of its own destiny.

"We will just go out and play like we have all year round. Sticking to the patterns and structures that we have been doing the whole year. We have done the hard work and will be looking to play well," he said.

"It is going to be a hard game but I'm quite happy with the way the team has been playing. I think we have only missed out on the bonus point once in the whole season and had one loss which was not within seven points.

"We're a young side which is still developing. I think the majority of our forward pack are under 20 so are still quite young."

Kaikorai has picked up 14 bonus points throughout the year - the most of any team - and lost only to University and Taieri in the second round.

Cotton could not single out any players above others during the season as it had been a good solid team effort.

Players such as Sam Wyber and George Hendry had been consistent all year while backs Eti Slater and Matt Jones were among many who had put in good shifts.

There was a good spirit within the team and that showed in the number of tight games in which the team had been involved.

When Kaikorai played Harbour in the first round, Harbour won 40-33 so a tight game is expected.

Kaikorai will be without Otago players Jonah Aoina and Slade McDowall, who has been struggling with an ankle injury, but does have halfback Josh Renton, who has been released by the Highlanders to stay match fit.

Cotton said Renton had been great for Kaikorai when he played and would be of real value to the side.

Cotton is the co-coach of the side with Ryan Martin. Martin was head coach but had to pull back mid-season as he had other commitments.

Cotton, who farms in the Lawrence area and has coached extensively in the country, said he really enjoyed the new role in the city and was learning much in the competition.

It took him about 90 minutes to travel to training from his farm but there was plenty of time to think and talk during that time.

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