Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors and Bombay Super Freight do battle in an intriguing Counties Power Game of the week at Bruce Pulman Park on Saturday.
The game in many ways sees the two stand-out teams from the past couple of seasons come up against each other. Bombay has won five of the past six McNamara Cups and are the current holders after lifting the Cup in 2019.
Ardmore Marist were the runaway competition leaders last year before COVID-19 wiped out the end to the season and they also won the competition in 2018.
“They will bring a lot of physicality,” Ardmore Marist coach Doug Sanft said. “They are a heavy pack and are a heavy set piece focused team and have all that experience, which we don’t have at the moment.
“I wouldn’t say it is just another game – it will be a big test to see where we are at especially with our physicality.
“I still feel Bombay are there every year. If they have Ki Anufe at first-five they will be a good team. If they have Mutts [Matiaha Martin] they will have a good set piece. Kalolo [Tuiloma] is back and he will make them better.”
Bombay will be desperate to win if they want to have the best shot at making the top five when the competition splits into a top and bottom five in three weeks.
Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel could go a long way to securing an all-important top five spot at the conclusion of the first round should they be able to beat Onewhero Summit Homes up the hill on Saturday.
Coming off their best performance of the season Reon Graham’s side highlighted their potential in beating Manurewa but will need to be at their best to deal with a plucky side that has shown plenty of character this season at a venue that has proven a tough place to win in recent years.
“We have gone up there so many times and got in trouble, so we won’t be taking them lightly that’s for sure,” Patumahoe coach Reon Graham said.
“Onewhero are a good country club, they’re our good country cousins and we always have good battles with them, and it won’t be any different.
“We will be hoping to keep hold of the Dark-Nicholson Cup.”
Waiuku Land & Sea Civil will hope to bounce back from last week’s thrashing at the hands of Pukekohe as they take on Weymouth at Rugby Park.
Weymouth remain winless this season but continue to fight hard and will be buoyed by scoring a pair of tries against a top-quality Ardmore Marist side last weekend.
Top-of-the-table Karaka hosts Manurewa Kidd Contracting in a battle between two of the competition heavyweights in our livestreamed match.
Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega will hope to continue the roll they started so impressively last week when they face Papakura Thirsty Liquor at Colin Lawrie Fields.
In Championship action Te Kohanga hosts Maramarua while the in-form Drury heads to Mountfort Park to take on Manurewa.
Top-of-the-table Te Kauwhata Proclad travels to Patumahoe to face Patumahoe Village Bar & Grill while Papakura Thirsty Liquor hosts Pukekohe.
Tuakau is at home to Puni in the final game of the round.
Pukekohe hosts neighbours Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical in Bob Chandler Cup Premier Reserves play. Pokeno Bacon travels to Bruce Pulman Park to face Ardmore Marist Barfoot & Thompson while Karaka is at home to Manurewa Wise Property Management.
In Massey Cup U21 games Karaka hosts Manurewa Barfoot & Thompson, Patumahoe CJM Construction hosts Waiuku while Papakura Thirsty Liquor is on the road to Pukekohe.
Under 85kg action returns this week with Beachlands Maraetai travelling all the way south to Onewhero, Bombay heads to Karaka Sports Complex while Patumahoe Pak N Save Pukekohe hosts Waiuku.
The Ardmore Marist women will look to get back on the horse after last week’s loss to Manurewa when they host Papatoetoe at Bruce Pulman Park. Manurewa travels to Waitemata while Papakura visits College Rifles.
In the 10-a-side grade Patumahoe Searle Group meets College Rifles at Clive Howe Reserve.
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