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10 September 2009
Frustrating is the catch cry of the Harbour Air New Zealand Cup squad. Losing four games by four points or less is a bitter pill to swallow but the impressive thing is the players never give up trying and eventually the close losses will turn into wins. Being as close to the squad as I am, I can comment with firsthand knowledge of the effort and togetherness of the squad. In a competition that is as even as this year’s Air New Zealand Cup the slightest mistake can cost you, so the ability to be rugby smart for eighty minutes is paramount.
Finally the Harbour faithful get to see the team play on a Saturday afternoon against Hawke's Bay at North Harbour Stadium with kickoff at 2.35pm. How a competition can change so quickly. Remember back to round one, Hawke's Bay absolutely annihilated Auckland and Harbour got up against defending champions Canterbury. Now both teams are featuring in the bottom half of the competition but on their day have proved they are right up there. Saturday promises to be a beauty and hopefully Harbour can celebrate Rudi Wulf's 50th appearance with a victory.
What a lifeline the Wallabies have thrown the All Blacks in the Tri Nations by beating South Africa 21 to 6 after losing by 32-27 the previous week. Saturday night in Hamilton will be a massive test of All Black resolve and belief but they won't get a better opportunity against the Boks especially as it is South Africa's third test in a row. Hopefully the weather will do the occasion justice.
The impact of the Global Recession is hitting home to northern hemisphere clubs who are often propped up by independent business men. Frontline French Premiership club Bourgoin which has strong Harbour connections is now in controlled receivership. To keep the club functioning through to the conclusion of the French premiership the players have had to take a mandatory 17% pay cut along with losing other perks. Former Takapuna and Harbour fullback Glenn Davis saw out his playing days with Bourgoin whilst former Silverdale captain and Samoan International, Tim Cowley, is still on their playing staff. Bourgoin could be onto something for in the adversity they are stringing together a series of victories.
The Harbour Under 20's are curtainraiser on Saturday at North Harbour Stadium against Auckland, hoping to turn around last weekend’s loss to Counties Manukau 13-24. Gates open at 12.00pm with the curtainrasier kickoff at 12.15pm. The Development XV are continuing last season success with a victory over Bay of Plenty 40-15 and host the Auckland Emerging Players at Windsor Park at 12 noon. The Under 18's are away to Bay of Plenty in Rotorua.
The Silverdale Rugby Club is hosting a mini-field day on Saturday with the Harbour Under 16's playing Counties Manukau, the Under 14's up against Northland and the Under 45kg's playing Auckland West.
Bring on Saturday afternoon rugby.