Wed, 29 Mar 2017
Saturday marks another chapter in what has become a fierce rivalry in the Premier 2 division of Counties Manukau club rugby with Bombay Pokeno Bacon and Manurewa reigniting a battle that has raged for a number of years in the Counties Power Game of the Week.
The two clubs have been involved in some close and ferocious contests since the two sides met in the grade final a few years ago.
“They beat us in a final about five or six years ago by a couple of points and since then it has just been back and forward really,” Bombay coach Marty Robson says.
“They have always been really close games. The last five or six years in the reserves they have always been pretty tough battles between the two sides. There is never much between the two teams. They always have a big pack and it is a good up front battle.
“It is a good rivalry.”
Bombay will travel to Mountford Park on Saturday knowing full well what will be in store for them. They are under no illusion as to how difficult it will be.
“I suppose they are the Manurewa of old – you always know what to expect when you go there,” Robson says. “They will play a tough and expansive game if you let them. If you don’t cut them down early they will run all over you.
“We just have to stop their go-forward really. That has been our focus this week.”
Robson admits his side hasn’t been at their best in the three opening rounds. Representative duty and injury to premier players has seen the top side call-up a number of Robson’s troops while a changing of the guard this year has also seen a much younger Bombay side take the field.
“We have been a bit up and down. We have a really young team. In previous season we have had a bit more experience but this year we don’t have much at all. In saying that we have a lot of good, young talent.
“We struggled a bit playing against Onewhero – they had a few older heads in there but we lacked a little bit of that. We still won the game but through a late individual try.
“We got a hiding against Karaka. We have five or six guys straight out of school and playing senior rugby and they were a bit intimidated playing against the bigger guys.
“They learned a lot and this week at training it has been really good and they feel they know what to do so hopefully this week we’ll produce a good result.”
The match will serve as the curtain-raiser to the premier match-up between the two clubs – a couple of the champion Bombay side from last year have moved to Manurewa so there should be a little extra spice in that contest.