Two of the smaller clubs in Counties Manukau go head-to-head for the Sid Marshall Shield Championship title on Saturday with unbeaten Drury hosting Te Kauwhata Proclad in what promises to be a terrific final.
The Championship grade has proven a major success in 2021 with smaller and rural clubs like Te Kohanga, Tuakau, Puni and Maramarua playing fit-for-purpose rugby.
Drury and Te Kauwhata have been the two stand-out teams all season – Te Kauwhata’s only loss came against Drury in pool play.
“Our forwards have set the platform all year – we have a really solid scrum, which has allowed us to unleash our exciting backs,” Drury coach Ihaia Burns said.
“Let’s hope the wind and rain that is forecast stays away.
“Defense will also be key – having the want and desire to put the big Te Kauwhata boys on the ground and minimise their go forward will help us immensely as well as being patient and taking our chances when they present themselves.”
Te Kauwhata tasted glory in the last final they played in back in 2019, when they defeated Weymouth in the Division 3 final as it was known then.
They will be primed for this winner-takes-all battle.
“It’s going to be a tough battle between the two forward packs,” Te Kauwhata coach Kelvin Geck said. “Both sides have strong ball runners.
“We have been building momentum over the last few weeks which should give the boys confidence come Saturday.
“We are looking forward to the challenge.”
While both clubs struggled to match the playing numbers of the bigger urban based clubs over the years there has been significant growth in the rural areas like Drury and Te Kauwhata in recent years.
With both locations in the early throes of a population boom the future looks bright and a title would mean a lot to both organisations.
“It was massive to see such a big crowd at Drury for our semi-final,” Burns explained. “We saw smiles on everyone’s faces when we managed to get the win over Patumahoe.
“To win the final would be huge – not just for our boys and the club – but also our community that we represent every week.
“Both teams represent small clubs – it would be huge for both teams.”
The match kicks off at 2.45pm.
website by 72DPI