The promise of some rugby to savour is on the cards this weekend when Farriers Wairarapa-Bush play what they hope will be their final home game for 2016.
“We are desperate not to play at home again this season,” says coach Josh Syms. “Because it will mean that we will be playing in the competition that we want to be in.”
And that of course is the premier Meads Cup, as opposed to the second tier Lochore Cup.
Syms says his players are “desperate” to make sure that they put on a display which is worthy of the public watching them.
Frustrated footy fans will be feeling short changed given the home performances Wairarapa-Bush has put their way in recent months.
Syms has some sympathy for them, recognising his side has played their best rugby away from Trust House Memorial Park.
“We’ve really let ourselves down at home and also let our supporters down. Hopefully we can make up for that with a really good performance this Saturday.”
While the opposition is the weakest in the competition, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Bank the five championships on offer and Wairarapa-Bush is almost certain to lock in an away Meads Cup semi-final against Whanganui or South Canterbury.
There is a caveat however, and that is either Mid Canterbury or Buller don’t win on Saturday. Both sides have tough assignments, with Mid Canterbury taking on their more fancied neighbours South Canterbury in Timaru, while Buller head to Taupo to square off with a King Country side looking to cement a home advantage in the Lochore cup semi’s.
With a 6pm kick off Wairarapa-Bush will know the results of both games even before they begin their warm-ups.
At the bottom of the table and averaging 59-points against, East Coast will be keen to put the 2016 season to bed.
But despite their abysmal record this season, East Coast will be no easy beats.
“We’ve been playing for our lives every week, and this week is no different.”
Factor in also their poor form at home and the pressure is on.
“If we can get the win and then the opposing teams (South Canterbury and King Country) can do the job in the right areas then we have ridden out a pretty tough period and we might be coming out right at the end of it fit and desperate,” Syms says.
“We rode our luck last year and got a bonus point to sneak into the semi’s when we only finished on 24-points, this year we could get 30.”
Saturday’s match will be an extra special occasion for Cameron Hayton with the winger chalking up his 50th match for the province. He is unlikely to play the full 80-minutes however with Peni Rokodugni set to get a run. The flying Fijian scored a brace of traces on debut against Poverty Bay in Gisborne last weekend.
First-five eighth Tim Priest has been named on the bench after sitting out last weekend because of injury. He still could start, says Syms, depending on his fitness.
|Farriers Wairarapa Bush v East Coast|
|Overall Stats Wairarapa Bush||Overall Stats East Coast|
|Games Played||7||Games Played||7|
|*Games Won||6||*Games Won||1|
|*Games Lost||1||*Games Lost||6|
|Games Drawn||0||Games Drawn||0|
|*Longest Losing Streak||1||*Longest Losing Streak||4|
|*Largest Points For||67||*Largest Points For||33|
|*Largest Points Against||33||*Largest Points Against||67|
|*Largest Losing Margin||-20||*Largest Losing Margin||-44|
|*Total Points For||245||*Total Points For||122|
|*Avg Points For||35.00||*Avg Points For||17.43|
|*Total Points Against||122||*Total Points Against||245|
|*Avg Points Against||17.43||*Avg Points Against||35.00|
|*Total Points Difference||123||*Total Points Difference||-123|
|*Avg Points Difference||17.57||*Avg Points Difference||-17.57|
|* = By Wairarapa Bush||* = By East Coast|