Unbeaten rivals Pukekohe and Bombay will square-off in a key early season McNamara Cup match at Colin Lawrie Fields in Pukekohe on Saturday.
The two teams are yet to taste defeat in 2023, including during the pre-season, and will be out to make an early statement in a rivalry that has been fierce and evenly fought over recent seasons.
Pukekohe are two from two in the McNamara Cup and sit atop the standings. They also won their two matches in the Wider Auckland Club Knockout competition to claim the inaugural BCITO Te Pukenga Trophy in the pre-season as well.
“From what we have seen, Bombay are a big, physical team so our forwards will need to front again this week,” said Pukekohe coach Michael Porter.
“The rivalry between the two clubs over the years has grown.
“A number of the boys are mates off the field so it brings a bit more edge on the field.
“We are looking forward to the weekend; it should be a good battle.”
Bombay enjoyed an opening round win against Ardmore Marist and had a bye last week. That followed three wins from three in the Wider Auckland Club Knockout competition as well and it has been a positive start for new coach Mike Tuiloma up the hill.
“Expecting a tough game,” said Tuiloma. “There’s history between the two sides so the boys tell me.
“We need to implement what we train and keep that consistent for 80 minutes.
“Pukekohe will be looking to keep their streak going. I’m just looking to see if we’ve improved since Ardy – only after the final whistle will I know.”
Elsewhere, Patumahoe will look to back up their first up win last weekend when they host Papakura at Patumahoe Domain.
Papakura pushed Pukekohe hard in their opening game and troubled Karaka at times but gave up too many points early in the contest to compete for victory last week.
Karaka take their unbeaten start to the season back home to Karaka Sports Complex, where they face winless Ardmore Marist.
Manurewa has the week 3 bye.
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