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Bracing for a southern backlash

Full Back Sam Monaghan scored one of Wairarapa-Bush’s four tries during last weekend’s 32-22 win over Horowhenua-Kapiti. Photo: JADE CVETKOV
Full Back Sam Monaghan scored one of Wairarapa-Bush’s four tries during last weekend’s 32-22 win over Horowhenua-Kapiti. Photo: JADE CVETKOV

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush will need to be at the top of their game if they are to beat Mid Canterbury on Saturday.

Wounded after their shock loss to Buller last weekend Mid Canterbury are sure to be hurting.

The perennial Heartland heavyweights surrendered a 16-point lead when they went down 34-32 in Westport.

It’s far from the ideal scenario for Wairarapa-Bush who would have preferred to come up against a complacent Mid Canterbury in Ashburton on a two-game winning streak.

But not so now, reckons Wairarapa-Bush coach Josh Syms who has this week being preparing his players for some good ol’ southern steel backlash.

Syms has made three changes to the starting XV that beat Horowhenua-Kapiti in the Cake Tin last weekend.

Loosehead prop Matt Kawana drops out of the side due to ill health and is replaced by Nick Hohepa. Also in the frontrow, hooker Abe Haira starts ahead of Richard Puddy, while at right wing Cameron Hayton gets the nod over Corey McFadzean, both are sitting on the bench.

While last weekend’s 32-22 win was far from perfect, Syms says it at least showed Wairarapa-Bush is heading in the right direction.

A pleasing aspect of the match was the performance of half-back John Ika who ”stepped-up” after a forgettable game against King Country the previous weekend. In the midfield big Iziq Foa’i lived up to his top billing with a strong game giving plenty of go-forward.

“We struggled with a bit of the physicality at scrum and pick-and-go time, but for the rest of it I thought we looked pretty resilient,” Syms says.

With the ball in hand Wairarapa-Bush is a dangerous proposition, demonstrated with Andrew Smith’s try which saw the ball travel 16 phases before Zac Guildford’s long cut out pass put the lock in the clear for a free run to the line.

It’s that sort of rugby which will be key for Wairarapa-Bush this weekend.

Mid-Canterbury will out-size and out-muscle Wairarapa-Bush, but if they can hold on to possession they have the strike power and finishing capabilities to come away from their southern sojourn with the points.

With Wanganui widely tipped to top the table there is going to be stiff competition for the next three Meads Cup play-off spots. While that doesn’t necessarily make this match a pivotal one, it is one that Syms would dearly love to win.

“It’s the little things that will make a big difference this weekend. If we get the little things right then we should be in with a crack.”

MATCH: Mid Canterbury v Farriers Wairarapa-Bush, Saturday 2pm, Ashburton Showgrounds, Ashburton.

(Late Change - Stan Wright is in for the Injured Jacko Hull , and Robbie Anderson replaces   Iziq Foa'i)
(Late Change – Stan Wright is in for the Injured Jacko Hull , and Robbie Anderson replaces Iziq Foa’i)
Mid Canterbury {22.88 v 19.63} Farriers Wairarapa Bush
Overall Stats Mid Canterbury Overall Stats Farriers Wairarapa Bush
 midCant_L  waibush_R
Games Played 8 Games Played 8
*Games Won 5 *Games Won 2
*Games Lost 2 *Games Lost 5
Games Drawn 1 Games Drawn 1
*Longest.Winning.Streak 4 *Longest.Winning.Streak 1
*Longest Losing Streak 1 *Longest Losing Streak 4
*Largest Points For 36 *Largest Points For 31
*Largest Points Against 31 *Largest Points Against 36
*Largest.Winning.Margin 18 *Largest.Winning.Margin 25
*Largest Losing Margin -25 *Largest Losing Margin -18
*Total Points For 183 *Total Points For 157
*Avg Points For 22.88 *Avg Points For 19.63
*Total Points Against 157 *Total Points Against 183
*Avg Points Against 19.63 *Avg Points Against 22.88
*Total Points Difference 26 *Total Points Difference -26
*Avg Points Difference 3.25 *Avg Points Difference -3.25
* = By Mid Canterbury * = By Farriers Wairarapa Bush
*Heartland matches played between Mid Canterbury and Farriers Wairarapa Bush
30-Aug-14 Farriers Wairarapa Bush 23 – 23 Mid Canterbury
7-Sep-13 Mid Canterbury 29 – 23 Farriers Wairarapa Bush
22-Sep-12 Farriers Wairarapa Bush 31 – 06 Mid Canterbury
13-Aug-11 Mid Canterbury 16 – 12 Farriers Wairarapa Bush
4-Sep-10 Farriers Wairarapa Bush 17 – 30 Mid Canterbury
17-Oct-09 Farriers Wairarapa Bush 06 – 24 Mid Canterbury
15-Sep-07 Farriers Wairarapa Bush 25 – 36 Mid Canterbury
16-Sep-06 Mid Canterbury 19 – 20 Farriers Wairarapa Bush

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