OBM, Varsity set for big clash
Old Boys-Marist’s unbeaten status will come under the microscope in week four of McDonalds Manawatu Senior One Club Rugby.
OBM face Varsity, who are fresh off a bye, this weekend, but the Sky Blues have been dealt a blow this weekend with a host of players out with the New Zealand Universities team.
On top of that, young halfback Bryn Wilson has snagged a short-term deal in Japan which will mean he misses most of the remaining club season.
They have found an able replacement in ex-Marist St Pats halfback Regan Sword.
The Sky Blues also welcome back academy duo Cody Hemi, starting at first five-eighth, and lock Mickey Woolliams.
In a reshuffled backline, Nick Birchfield lines up at fullback and Jayden Falcon will wear No 13.
OBM have stuck with most of their side who dispatched Freyberg last week aside from a change at first five-eighth where Sam Stewart replaces James Holland in the starting side.
Loose forwards Matene Ruawai and Rhys Pedersen have been in good form in the pack while Shadyn Osgood and Ben Werthmuller are the men to watch in the backline.
Meanwhile, Ben Wyness will make his return to rugby off the bench for Feilding Yellows.
The classy playmaker broke his leg during the side’s semi-final last year and has not played a game since.
Wyness’ return will be key for Yellows’ playoff charge this year and will allow young gun Drew Wild to return to his natural position of fullback.
Wild retains the No 10 for their match against Linton Army.
Yellows have taken the opportunity to cycle their squad with Jack Fleury, Ricky Cribb, James Metcalfe, Hayne Leota and Zane Dallinger all added to the forward pack.
Linton face their typical rotation of players, but should have former Turbo Hakarangi Tichbourne on deck for his first match of the season.
College Old Boys have Stewart Cruden back in the No 10 jersey for their match against Te Kawau after a week on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Patrick Tafili-Reid, who has been one of the competition’s form players, has shifted back to centre while young Jacob Hewitson-Talamaivao is at halfback.
Watch out for touch rugby star Jahlon Governor who has been named on the bench.
Te Kawau are slowly getting more of their troops back.
Ethan Woodmass starred for them in their first win last weekend and will need a big game if Te Kawau stand any chance of an upset.
Feilding Old Boys-Oroua will be hoping to get their campaign back on track when they face Freyberg at Colquhoun Park.
They have made a host of changes to their pack and former Free State loose forward will be an interesting player to watch on the side of the scrum.
Shai Wiperi has moved into the No 13 jersey for the match and will be dangerous.
Freyberg put in a top first 40 minutes against OBM last week and will be looking to go the full 80 minutes this week.
Randy Liuvaie in the No 10 jersey and wing Tupou Lesieli Maliepo are their denagermen.