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Rams looking to lift for semi-final clash

The Wānaka App

Tony O'Regan

08 July 2024, 5:00 PM

Rams looking to lift for semi-final clashRams halfback and goal kicker Brady Kingan may hold the key to his team's championship aspirations.

The Upper Clutha premier rugby team (the Rams) has finished at the top of the Central Otago Premier Rugby Competition at the end of this season’s round-robin, locking in a semi-final clash with fourth-placed Maniototo this Saturday (July 13) in Wānaka.

The Rams head into the semi-final after a less-than-convincing performance against a fired-up Cromwell team, securing a 31-26 victory, and ending any hope Cromwell had of qualifying for the finals. 

“We knew we’d get a hard game and we didn’t want to finish the season with a bad game,” Rams’ head coach Alex Dickson said.

“The boys worked hard and we got there in the end.”

There was little riding on the match for the home side after securing a semi-final berth some weeks ago, but Alex said he was looking for a good performance from his charges leading into the semi-final match.

“We had a good training week and we wanted to play well,” he said.

“We were treating this game like a semi.”

Cromwell showed its intent from the opening whistle, turning early pressure into points to lead 7-0 after seven minutes. The team continued to dominate the match until a quick throw-in by Rams’ inside centre Oliver Stirling saw first-five Tomas Jarrold score against the run of play in the thirtieth minute.

Tries on either side of halftime saw the Rams skip out to a 19-7 lead early in the second half before a defiant Cromwell side levelled the score with 20 minutes left to play.

The Rams sealed the match with two well-taken tries to left-wing Tomas Jarmen and halfback Brady Kingan. Cromwell scored a late consolation try.

Rams No.8 Jake Burtenshaw was active with ball in hand and securing vital tackle turnovers. Oliver Stirling was a calming influence in midfield and wing Tomas Jarman made the most of his opportunities.

A feature of the match was the performance of the Rams’ scrum which regularly shunted Cromwell backwards and was unlucky not to be rewarded with several penalties.

The Rams will need to improve this weekend when the team takes on Maniototo in Wānaka, a side it has had the better of twice this season recording 29-23 and 26-14 wins.

The fitness of Rams’ captain Lachie Garrick will be the main concern leading into the semi-final. Lachie left the field early in the match against Cromwell with an extended elbow injury.

The Rams play Maniototo at the Upper Clutha Rugby Club this Saturday (July 13), with kick off at 2.30pm.

Wakatipu will host Alexandra in Queenstown in the other semi-final match.

Rams points:

Tries: Tomas Jarman (2), Tomas Jarrold, Fergus Smith, Brady Kingan

Conversions: Brady Kingan (3)

PHOTO: Steve McArthur