Rugby returns this weekend 11th June 2022

Rugby returns this weekend
Four rounds remain in the Westreef Services senior rugby competition with plenty at stake for all four teams. This weekend will see Reefton host Westport at the Rosco grounds in Reefton and Old Boys will host White Star at George Craddock Memorial Park. Both games will start at 2:30pm.

Reefton v Westport
Reefton have had a couple of weeks to recharge their batteries for this fixture after illness forced the abandonment of their fixture against White Star two weekends ago. Westport on the other hand have been sailing through the competition, recording maximum points in their games played, although they haven’t always been at their best from a performance aspect.

Last time the two teams met was in Round three, when a depleted Reefton side were convincing beaten. Westport produced their best performance of the season that day running our victors 66-3. A repeat of that performance is unlikely this weekend, given the Rangers will welcome back key personnel and are always a challenging prospect on their home soil. Reefton produced an impressive win last time they played at home and will be looking to cause an upset on Saturday.

Westport will jump on the bus with an experienced forward pack this weekend. Their front row has been given a big boost with the inclusion of prop Tapi Allen who was impressive when he debuted for the club against White Star earlier this round. Allen is pressing for a spot in the Heartland squad and will be eager to put his best foot forward this weekend. The club also welcome a new player in Jamie Tinetti who is here in Westport chasing a desire to play representative rugby. Tinetti has held aspirations to wear the Buller jersey after his grandfather Colin Tinetti represented Buller in the 1960’s. A loose forward from the Manawatu region, Tinetti also brings some leadership qualities after captaining the Manawatu U19 side at the Jock Hobbs national tournament a few seasons ago.

Reefton also have a new addition to their side this weekend in the form of UK winger Joe Flexman. He comes to Reefton looking for an experience playing rugby in New Zealand after playing multiple seasons with former Reefton player Brett Cutbush at Colchester RFC. Cutbush, who is also returning to New Zealand later this season is unable to make it back in time to play for his beloved Reefton club however the Rangers will be keen to see how Flexman goes this weekend.

The home side will certainly pose a tough challenge for the visiting bumblebees. Westport will be eyeing top spot on the ladder and gain automatic entry for the final while Reefton will know a victory on Saturday puts them in a strong position to contend for playoffs rugby.


Old Boys v White Star
Last time the two sides met at the end of round one, Old Boys snuck home by the barest of margins in a torrid tussle at Victoria Square. The victory also managed to secure the Farmlands Foote for Old Boys. This weekend, the sides will battle it out at Old Boys home venue of George Craddock Memorial Park.

White Star come into the fixture fresh with their last game cancelled due to Reefton having Covid-19. Old Boys come in with an air of confidence after an excellent display against Westport, despite being numbers down. Although they were unable to retain the Foote Shield in the fixture, they certainly showed plenty of spirit and will be happy with the overall effort.

White Star have had a largely settled squad over the first half of the season. They produced an excellent first forty minutes against Westport in their last outing, going out to a commanding halftime lead only to be chased down in the second half. One player they will be keen to get back out on the park is influential outside back Iliesa Tora. He is a proven match winner for the side and provides their backline with some fire power out wide. A knee injury has kept him sidelined over the past month but will be close to getting back out on the park. In their forwards, Taine Brownlee has made another promising start to the season. The young loose forward will certainly be on the representative coaches radar and has another chance to impress this weekend, especially given Buller coach Nathan Thompson is out in the middle with the whistle.

Old Boys will welcome back a number of key personnel who were unavailable last time out. A key player will be prop Tim Dallison who has been playing the opening round for Stoke in Nelson. Dallison has worked extremely hard on his scrummaging and overall game during the off season with Buller coach Ti’i Paulo. He enjoyed his time playing representative rugby last year and to his credit has put in a tremendous amount of effort to push his case for representative honors. Midfielders Alex Lean and Jade Coleman should return this weekend to the midfield and the club will be hopeful to have Wes Tait back running the cutter at 10 after the experienced pivot put in an almighty shift for the ‘gulls’ last round. It remains to be seen if Isei Lewaqai has returned from a hand injury that has kept him sidelined this year but if he is back, it further strengthens Old Boys chances on Saturday.

It shapes up again to be another close fixture. Both teams are poised on the table and will be eager to record another tick in the win column.

Senior Shield Points Table:

Played Won Drawn/NR Lost PF PA PD B1 B2 POINTS
Westport 5 4 1 0 168 77 +91 4 0 22
White Star 5 1 2 2 72 75 -3 2 2 12
Reefton 5 1 2 2 52 110 -58 1 1 10
Old Boys 5 1 1 3 76 106 -30 1 0 7

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