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PGG Wrightson Division 1 Update
Kaiapoi is a surprise PGG Wrightson Combined Country competition semi-finalist after beating Darfield 25-15 away from home last weekend in one quarter-final.
After being hammered by Lincoln away from home two weeks previous, there were not many pundits picking the All Golds to improve their form and make it to the final four in this closely-fought competition.
Still, Kaiapoi managed to turn it around and beat the more highly-fancied Darfield side. “I think we managed to pull it off for a number of reasons,” Kaiapoi co-coach Rob Van Keulen says. “We knew that in respect of this competition there were no tomorrows if we did not win and so the boys were certainly motivated to pull it off.
“We were also extremely disappointed with the way that we played against Lincoln and so we wanted to make up for that, but we were fortunate to get a number of key players back. Matt Ethridge is a key player for us and his return from injury made a big difference.”
Rob says the key for his side was to get back to what it does well and in that sense the week off did assist. “It gave us a chance to reflect on where we had gone wrong against Lincoln and what we needed to do against Darfield. We were delighted with the way we played.”
Methven at home provides a different challenge. Although most teams have found the Mid Canterbury side difficult at home, Kaiapoi is one of the few teams that have travelled south and come away with a win.
“We are similar teams in many respects and thankfully we have had a good look at them as we played them in the round-robin,” Rob says. “We just hope that we get a dry track down there at the weekend and that we get to play some good rugby.”
While Kaiapoi has the likes of the experienced Simon Gunn, Kit Taylor and Matt Newton on board, they are largely an inexperienced team. “In that sense we are pleased about where we are at, but we are very keen to go a couple steps further in this competition,” Rob says.
In the other semi-final this weekend, Glenmark will meet Lincoln in a repeat of last season’s final at Omihi. Glenmark booked its place with a 32-10 win against Prebbleton, while Lincoln beat Oxford 12-11 at Lincoln. Methven meanwhile got home 19-18 against Burnham.
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