Wanderers and Marist to host semi-finals

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Waimea Old Boys have played Marist twice already this season and lost on both occasions.

But Wakatu Marist captain Shawn Begg says the defending champions should still be favourites ahead of this Saturday’s Car Company division one semi-final. “They’ve got a lot more players than they did at the start of the season so it’ll be a different Waimea team, but we’ve beaten them twice this season,” he says. “They’re definitely the team to beat in the finals though, they’re stacked all over the park.”
But Star & Garter Waimea Old Boys co-coach Mark Milne believes his side are the underdogs, and their record against Marist proves it. “I can’t see how we can be favourites if they’ve beaten us twice. They ran straight through us. In those two games we just weren’t up to the mark and if we’re not up to the mark again this weekend we’ll be in trouble again,” says Mark. “I don’t read so much into the performances they’ve had over the past couple of weeks. We’ll both claim underdog status, but on the back of two wins against us they have to go in as favourites.”

Waimea Old Boys head into the semi-final on an eight game winning streak, that includes knocking over Tasman Trophy winners Waitohi on Saturday.

The game against Waitohi was a bruising encounter, but the perfect warm-up for a do-or-die semi-final.

“We were pretty pleased with the workout we got. It was more about the physical contest that we had, rather than the result. That gets us on track for the semi-final.”

This Saturday’s semi-final will be held atTrafalgarPark, kicking off at 3pm.

Meanwhile, the other semi-final between Taylor’s Contracting Wanderers and Kahurangi will be played at the Brightwater Domain, and Wanderers player-coach Daniel Perrin is confident his team can turn around Saturday’s shock loss to Kahurangi, by beating them this weekend.

The 26-17 loss at Sports Park Motueka means Kahurangi sneak past Galbraith Nelson into fourth place, sealing the final playoff spot.

While many would argue that it gives Wanderers an easier run in the semi-final this Saturday, player-coach Daniel says he would rather have played Nelson “after putting 60 points on them a couple of weeks ago”.

Wanderers haven’t had the most ideal run in to the playoffs, with Moutere defaulting two weeks ago and then the loss to Kahurangi, but they still deservedly finished top of the table after the round robin, with eight wins, one draw and one loss to their name. “We haven’t had too many games, teams keep defaulting against us so it’s been frustrating in that regard, but the boys are eager to get out there,” says Daniel.

And despite the loss on the weekend, he was confident a fully-fit Wanderers squad can do the job when it counts this weekend. “I think the boys were pretty disappointed in themselves and they’ll look to right a few wrongs.”