Thu, 28 Apr 2016
First takes on third in this week’s Counties Power Game of the Week between Patumahoe Hutton Builders and Karaka in the Don Shuker Premier Reserves competition at 1:00pm at Patumahoe 1.
Karaka have had a perfect start to the season, sitting at the top of the table on 33 points after winning all seven of their games.
Patumahoe Hutton Builders are only four points behind on 29, level with Ardmore Marist Harcourt’s. They’ve only lost the one game so far this season, going down to Ardmore Marist.
Patumahoe picked up a couple of minor injuries in their 22-14 win over Onewhero Hinemoa Produce/Livestock NZ over the weekend, but nothing too serious for coach Grant Wallis.
“Hopefully we will be able to put on a reasonably strong team against Karaka. We’ve got a couple of longer term injuries and we’re not expecting those guys back for another couple of weeks but we will be as close as we can be to full strength this weekend.”
Wallis has been really pleased with his side over the last seven weeks.
“Our performances have been real team efforts. There have been different guys stepping up every week so it’s hard to pick individuals out. Our young front rower James Hetaraka has been going pretty well. He had the week off last week so he will be raring to go this weekend. I’ve been happy with our set piece, that’s been going reasonably well too.”
“Karaka have set the benchmark in reserve rugby for quite a few years now so we are just looking to be competitive and see where we stand and what we need to do to be at the business end of the season.”
The Karaka Premier Reserve side have put a big emphasis on the reserve grade being their breeding ground for the future. Coach Scott Penney says his squad contains largely an Under 23 mix with only a handful adding the experience.
“We are led well by Timote Asi, who is in his early 20’s. He is accompanied up front by Sione Finau and Patrick Tulavasa. We have an exciting backline with Manatu Teisi and Joshua Hefa, as well as Nicholas Worthington who has returned from rugby league.”
Penney says their young winger Walter Fifita is one to watch. He has already played Premiers at the age of 18.
Penney’s preparing his side for a tough battle with Patumahoe this weekend.
“We’re expecting a top of the table type clash. The top few teams are all capable of putting a lot of pressure on each other which is exciting for the competition. Karaka vs Patumahoe is always a special occasion and one I’m sure both teams will be up for.”
Get to Patumahoe 1 at 1:00pm on Saturday to watch the Counties Power Game of the Week between Patumahoe Hutton Builders and Karaka in the Don Shuker Premier Reserve competition.
Photo Credit: Richard Spranger
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