Eltham-Kaponga coach Brendan Crowley is confident his side will be able to field a side in senior A club rugby next week despite having to default to Tukapa today.
Missing more than half of their squad of 26, including two frontline props, meant Eltham-Kaponga had to default for the first time since 2010 when they also pulled the pin against Tukapa.
"We've just got too many guys with injuries and guys who have to work," he said yesterday.
"We're desperate to play Stratford [next week] because it's Eltham oldtimers' day and Fabian Rupapera will play his 100th game so we hope to have a few back for that."
The lack of suitable front rowers was causing Crowley the biggest headache with Hamish Mellow and Steven England unable to front next week as well.
Crowley categorically denied this week's default could be the start of long-term problems for the club fielding a side. "Far from it," he said. "You give us two years and they will be talking about us making the top four. Brent Perrett [assistant coach] and I are both real keen to do it again next year, it's just we've suffered from first-year blues with injuries."
Eltham-Kaponga have struggled all season, losing all but one of their matches when they drew with Stratford in the first round.
Tukapa coach Kelvin McDowell was naturally disappointed not to be able to play.
"It's an important part of the season in trying to keep some momentum going and it's a shame that it happens in premier rugby," he said.
The defending champions will be given five points for the default, which will see them take over top spot on the table if New Plymouth Old Boys cannot beat Coastal today.
McDowell said he felt sorry for the guys in his team who were pushing for trophies for top try scorer and top points scorer.
Eltham-Kaponga midfielder Jayden Hayward was mistakenly left off the list of top try scorers this week.
Hayward has crossed seven times in just four appearances for his club this season, giving him the best strike rate in the competition.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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