It’s a fight for survival in the New Zealand Barbarians U85 Club Cup, as the last of the first-round matches are played this weekend.
While Wellington clubs Eastbourne, Avalon and Poneke take a week off after southern section wins last weekend, six teams in the northern section draw will vie for a spot alongside Counties – Manukau club Karaka in the October 17 Quarter Finals.
The match of the round sees Auckland heavy-hitters Grammar TEC Old Boys and the Ponsonby Hustlers face-off at Cornwall Park.
While the Hustlers hold the top seeding after an Auckland club season cut short by Covid-19, it was TEC that got the result 12-6 when the teams played in July.
TEC captain James Kidd says the team is expecting a forwards-oriented contest as the big-city rivalry with Ponsonby is renewed.
“It’s normally a ding-dong battle between the two of us. We both play a similar sort of game with strong forward packs, so we’re expecting it to be a bit of an arm-wrestle,” Kidd says.
Counties – Manukau number one Waiuku host the Eden Lizards, who had a resounding 54-12 win against Pukekohe in the prelims last week.
Patumahoe also navigated its way past North Harbour’s Massey club 19-18, with Massey missing what would have been the match-winning conversion in the dying moments.
Manager Brad Healey says Patumahoe is under no illusions of the challenge against a vibrant Auckland University Squids in the chase for a Quarter Final spot.
“It’s going to be a huge battle for us to get up against them at Colin Maiden. They play pretty expansively apparently, so we’ll have to stick to what we know and play some grizzly old Counties rugby upfront,” Healey says.
Article written by Dan Tasker.
To be played on the 10th of October at 1.00 pm.
Waiuku (CMRFU 1) v Eden Lizards (ARU 4)
Waiuku Rugby Club: Field 1
Ponsonby Hustlers (ARU 1) v Grammar TEC Old Boys (ARU 3)
Cornwall Park: Field 1
University Squids (ARU 2) v Patumahoe RFC (CMRFU 4)
Colin Maidan Park: Field 10