Vital points up for grabs in derbies

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Kaierau's Faafetai Siona tries to get away from Marist's Ian Hawkes at the Country Club earlier this month. Kaierau host Pirates in what is a vital match for both sides tomorrow. Photo/ Stuart Munro

By Zaryd Wilson

It is by no means do or die.

But for mid-table Pirates and Kaierau, a win in Saturday's city derby is vital to stay in touch with the top four of Tasman Tanning premier club rugby.

Both sides come into the match after back-to-back loses (for Kaierau it's three) and keen to get back to winning ways.

Black Bull Liquor Pirates coach Phillip Morris said he'd been disappointed with his team's second half performance over the past fortnight and the focus this week would be on tightening up the defence.

"We've just got to up the anti there," he said. "We're leaking too many points and letting the opposition in. We're not really keeping the foot on the throat.

"It's not our bench, our bench is good, it's just a matter of doing the little things better which we're not completely doing at the moment. And to be a top four side you've got to do the little things."

After three wins to start to the competition Pirates now sit a point outside the top four but with a bye coming up next weekend and will want maximum points to give some comfort going into their break.

"It's a wide open competition this year and you're going to really have to fight and scrap to make the top four," Morris said.

Pirates will be pleased to take a settled squad to the Country Club but Morris expected tough opposition from the home side.

"They're fit. They play wide and we've just got to take our opportunities."

Results as of 20/04/17
Results as of 20/04/17

Meanwhile, Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau coach Denis Edwards was not ready to hit the panic button just yet but said it was certainly a game his side needed points from.

After thrashing new boys Settler's Honey Ngamatapouri in the opening round, Kaierau went of the boil.

However, a stronger performance in a nine-point loss to defending champions Waverley Harvesting Border last week is one Edwards wants to replicate.

"We just went back to basics. We went back to protecting the ball in the collision area, just basic rugby really.

Certainly I'd like to repeat that intensity and see where we go from there."

Edwards said his side needed to win as much set piece as they could.

"They'll be aggressive around the tackle ball area and we just have to counter that. If we get enough ball we've got a chance."

Edwards too would be making few changes, although veteran half back Ace Malo may be used off the bench.

"I just want to rest him a bit. He's played hard every game and although this game is vital there is the big picture."

In other matches PGG Wrightson/ Balance Taihape play host rivals McCarthy Transport Ruapehu with the winner to move into second spot and close the gap on leaders Border who have a bye.

Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist host Harvey Round Motors Ratana at Spriggens Park while Ngamatapouri, fresh off their first win in premier grade, welcome Utiku Old Boys.

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