Lochore Cup final preview: Mid Canterbury v West Coast
West Coast are the only provincial union in New Zealand to have not won a title but have the chance to break their duck when they take on Mid Canterbury in the Lochore Cup final on Sunday.
Match details: Mid Canterbury v West Coast, Sunday 29 October, 2.35pm, Methven Domain, Methven
TALE OF THE TAPE
Although they didn’t meet during the regular season, very little separated Mid Canterbury and West Coast on the ladder. Both teams won six matches from nine played and ended the season tied with Wanganui on 26 points. Wanganui qualified in fourth place courtesy of points differential with Mid Canterbury fifth and West Coast in sixth place. Last week Mid Canterbury were far too strong for Poverty Bay in running out winners 56-22 while West Coast edged North Otago 24-14.
17 YEAR WAIT
After last playing for West Coast in 2000, loose forward Brad Tauwhare will return for the Lochore Cup final. Tauwhare has built a reputation as one of the most consistent performers in Auckland club rugby with over 100 matches for Ponsonby and a number of Gallaher Shield titles. The 35-year-old will add grit and experience to the West Coast pack for what should be a torrid forward battle.
History beckons for the winner with neither side having tasted Lochore Cup success before. Mid Canterbury have previously won the NPC division three title on two occasions (1994 and 1998) but never prevailed in the Heartland Championship. West Coast have made one Lochore Cup final previously, losing to North Otago in 2009.
Mid Canterbury has once previously had to host a final away from its Ashburton headquarters – in 2009, when it was played at Rugby Park, Christchurch. Both times the change was because the A&P Show, the week after Labour Weekend, has priority when it comes to booking the ground.
Adam Stewart, Jackson Donlan, Carisbrook Toomalatai, Eric Duff, Angus Lindsay, Phil Watson, Seta Koroitamana, Sam Finau, Tyler Blackburn, Jared Percival, Willie McGoon, Nete Caucau, Tom Hanham-Carter, Christian Vainerere, Maleli Sau
Reserves: Phill Mills, Tom Heywood, Matt Bentley, Kurt Polson, Davie Maw, Isireli Masiwini, Dan Fransen
Dylan Turnbull, Troy Tauwhare, Daniel Darvis, Joshua Manning, Isei Lewaqai, Brad Tauwhare, Steven Soper, Amenatave Tukana, Nick Makea, Tom Reekie, Peter Te Rakau, Logan Heath, Sean McClure, Regan Stanton, Robert Thompson
Reserves: David Crouchley, Jesse MacRae, Joshua Tomlinson, Rowan O’Gorman, Gilbert Fahey, Maleli Mudu, Nathaniel Hamilton