Country face in-form Development team
The Southland Country rugby team was delighted to get one over the city slickers Southland Metro last Saturday, but coach Jeff Clearwater suggests a whole lot more improvement is needed today.
Southland Country put together a confidence-boosting 31-24 win over Southland Metro, but coach Clearwater was anticipating a tough challenge from the Otago Development team in Dunedin today.
The Otago Development team made light work of Otago Country last weekend, racking up a 78-12 win after leading 43-0 at halftime.
Clearwater knows his side will need to be on top of its game.
"Otago are going to be pretty sharp," he said. "I think Otago rugby in general is on a bit of a high, they've got things sorted."
One of the most pleasing aspects for Clearwater from the win over Southland Metro was the "heart" and "intensity" his players showed.
"We've just got to try and up the intensity even more and absorb a bit of the intensity from them as well. That's going to be the key."
While Southland Country will look to build on their positive start to their season, Southland Metro will be desperate to make amends for their first-up loss when they play Otago Country in Balclutha.
Southland Metro coach Damien Pine said the team was disappointed after Saturday's loss and the players were eager to respond.
He said injured Southland Stags veteran Jason Rutledge, who is helping Pine and Craig Pullar with coaching, had been impressive in addressing the team in regard to the disappointing showing.
Pine and his coaching team have made a key change at first five-eighth, moving traditional halfback Sonny Rangitoheriri to No 10 to run the show today.
They will also be bolstered by lock Craig Smith - who has sat on the bench for the Stags' first two games - dropping back down to the Southland Metro team.
Fellow Stags squad members Keanu Kahukura and JP Koen will also play for Metro today.
Southland Country team to play Otago Development: David Tamou, Joshua Vosawale, Jeremy McLeod, Chris Kenning/Logan Moore, Taina Tamou, Neil Warnock, Ben Brown (vc), Scott McKee (c), Philip Halder, Brenton Howden, William Broughton, Logan Byars, Morgan Mitchell, Lachlan McCall, Campbell McIntosh. Reserves: Callum McConochie, Matthew Clearwater, Joseph Moir, Blake Fairburn, Alexander Peirce, Campbell Thomson, Luke Muir. Southland Metro team to play Otago Country: Warrick Lynn, Keanu Kahukura, Will Murray, Runi Safole, Gabrielle Pickering, Sonny Rangitoheriri, Oscar Jenkins, Michael Gellatly, Alex Taylor, Marika Roquica, Craig Smith, Andrew Mackintosh (c), JP Koen, Bull Matiaha, Micheal Peterson. Reserves; Ryan Carter, Chris Barrett, Tama Toomata, Campbell Smith, Lee Murray, Marcus Saunders, Gavin Cantwell.
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