College Rifles and Eden Rugby prepare for battle with Fred Allen Trophy on the line

Eden Rugby's James Rutherford fends off an opponent during his side's clash with Manukau.
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Eden Rugby's James Rutherford fends off an opponent during his side's clash with Manukau.

There's more than just competition points on the line when College Rifles and Eden meet in Auckland Rugby's game of the round this weekend.

The Fred Allen Trophy is up for grabs as the two teams come together for the first time since round one of the premier competition back in April.

The Fred Allen Trophy is Auckland Rugby's equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield and has had its home at Rifles since July last year.

The two clubs are separated only by points difference in the Gallaher Shield competition - reserved for the top eight sides after round robin play - however, it hasn't been smooth sailing for the Auckland teams who were both touted as favourites to begin the season.

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For Rifles, they had an unblemished record through eight matches before being thumped by Ponsonby 20-40 two weeks ago.

Coach John Clough was disappointed with his sides first loss of the season and said it was a day they'd rather forget.

"To be real blunt, they exposed a couple of weaknesses we had, and played better on the day," Clough said.

"We came off the field really angry, not because of the result, but because of the way we weren't in it."

After taking a hard look at themselves, Rifles bounced back with an emphatic 36-0 win over Manukau on the weekend. That was enough to convince Clough his side was back on track.

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"The win was great, but what we're really proud about and what we really wanted to achieve was to keep them to a minimum score," he said.

"To keep a team like that scoreless I thought was pretty impressive." 

It was a similar story for Eden, who suffered a tough loss against University 22-33 the same weekend Rifles lost to Ponsonby.

Coach David Bateman echoed similar sentiments and said on any other day, they probably would have got the result.

"We played our worst game of the year against University and they played their best game," Bateman said.

Now, the two will face each other again after Rifles came out on top when the teams last met.

Bateman said his side would use that as motivation, though they wouldn't change their gameplan.

"Rifles are always tough at home, but we like to win trophies," Bateman said.

"We've won a lot, so it's going to be an epic game."

 - Stuff

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