Bonus point key as Yellows chase Jubilee Cup
After a week one stumble, Feilding Yellows’ chances of defending their Jubilee Cup title seemed slim.
Now they head into the final week of the first round in the box seat to lock up the cup for a second season.
Their decisive win over the previously unbeaten College Old Boys last weekend lifted them within five competition points of top spot on the ladder.
With COB on the bye and unable to register any more points, the match also crucially gave them the tiebreaker over the current table-toppers.
Standing in Yellows’ way is an out-of-sorts Kia Toa side who have looked far from convincing this year.
Usually one of the most potent attacking teams in the competition, Kia Toa were restricted to a sole try from an intercept last weekend.
Kia Toa’s depth has been exposed this year with their usual stable of stars regularly injured or unavailable.
This week they have called on the likes of Kingsley Teppett and Cameron Pearson to return to the senior one side.
First five-eighth is proving to be their biggest concern.
Regular outside back and occasional halfback Tobias Wickham-Manuel will be tasked with the No 10 duties this week and should at bring some attacking flair to a backline that is missing Lifeimi Mafi and Michael Tagicakibau.
Yellows will be without star young duo Drew Wild and Josiah Maraku for the match due to injury.
The reshuffle sees former captain Matt Dalley return to the side on the wing.
While all eyes will be on Feilding-Kia Toa, the match of the round will likely be battled out at Johnston Park between Feilding Old Boys-Oroua and Varsity.
The Stags seem to have settled on their top side and boast one of the more impressive loose forward trios in the competition in Nardus Erasmus, Tyler Moeau and Alex Hawira.
Layton Manuel looks comfortable at No 10, while Shaq Waara is a constant tryscoring threat on the wing.
Ollie Brosnahan has been quiet this year, but he is still a dangerous prospect on the wing.
Varsity’s key will be the inform Te Rangatira Waitokia who has been deadly in space.
Te Kawau and Freyberg will battle it out for seventh place at the end of the first round.
Freyberg have Turbos prop Faalelei Sione on deck which should strengthen their scrums and add plenty of running.
Randy Liuvaie has been shifted from No 10 to No 12 for the match.
With Linton Army withdrawing from Senior One club rugby, their match against Old Boys-Marist will be listed as a default.
The competition will be redrawn for the second round to remove the bye.