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CBS Canterbury Division 1 - Finals Time
Arguably the two best teams in Metro Division 1 this season will contest the final of the CBS Canterbury Trophy this weekend.
Christchurch and Linwood have consistently been the best sides and it is therefore fitting that they will clash to see who reins supreme in Metro rugby this season. They booked their place in the final with contrasting wins last weekend.
Christchurch again showed its knack of winning narrowly with a 17-15 victory against Burnside. The win was a hard-fought affair but the red and blacks, thanks to a late try by replacement Kieran Coll, just had enough.
Burnside’s performance was symbolic of their season: coming extremely close and yet at the end of the day not quite getting home despite their best efforts.
Christchurch coach Brad Mooar says that he was happy with parts of his side’s performance, although a couple of wrong options gave Burnside a sniff of victory. “We were happy with the character we showed when we were eight points down. We didn’t panic.”
Brad says that his side’s focus this week will be on performance and not the results of the previous two matches against Linwood. He says he is unsure whether he will have Matt Todd and Sam Monaghan back.
Christchurch will now take on a Linwood side that easily beat High School Old Boys 38-17. Linwood has shown throughout the season that it has the quality to be in the final and that it will be a worthy opponent.
Linwood coach Ian Mallard says that his side is “delighted” to be in the final. “We haven’t been in this major final since 1978 and so it is a reward for our supporters and for the club in general.”
Ian says that his side will be working hard on certain areas this week, including tightening its defence and on its restarts, these aspects being parts of its game that didn’t go so well last weekend.
Although Christchurch was much too strong in the Cup round-robin, the red and blacks only beat Linwood 20-19 in the Trophy round-robin and so picking a winner in this final is extremely difficult.
Given that Christchurch has beaten Linwood twice this season they should start as favourites, although Linwood has shown enough quality this season not to be written-off. They have also been building momentum.
In the Plate final, Sydenham will play University in the curtain-raiser to the Canterbury vs. Waikato match on Friday night at AMI Stadium. Sydenham confirmed its place in the season finale with a 40-5 win against Marist Albion, while University won away from home 32-19 against New Brighton. Although Sydenham won the Trophy round-robin match against the students 24-18 at Ilam, the maroons have steadily improved.
Meanwhile, the Bowl final will be played between Lincoln University and Shirley. The Vikings beat Belfast 21-15 to book their place. Lincoln University (which beat Shirley 33-28 in the round-robin) will start as favourites.
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