NEW Zealand is brimming with confidence heading into tomorrow’s Waitangi Day clash, and with good reason.
Their 3-1 series win record over the Rest of the World speaks for itself. But New Zealand manager Zac Costar isn’t about to break out the champagne just yet.
He, like many of the Kiwi players who will take to the field on Saturday, would realise tomorrow was a completely different game in a brand new year.
Emerald’s annual Watangi Day has been running for the past four years and brings together two rugby sides - one New Zealand and another Rest of the World – in recognition of New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi – an agreement between the Maori people and the British Crown in 1840.
Costar was cautious not to underestimate their World opposition who are very capable of stringing together a strong structure from their play-book.
“It should be very competitive but I think Rest of the World has the advantage with their playing combinations.
“We have got a good enough scrum that we just have to lay the platform with that and then feed it out through the backs.
“We’ve got good backs, they’re young and cheeky but very sharp.
“But really with very little fitness from both sides so early in the year, it’s anybody’s to win.”
He said training numbers, much like for the World side, have been a bit light on in recent weeks.
“We’ve been training with limited numbers but we’re expecting a few late call-ups on Friday.
“You can just feel something special.”
As much as the rugby plays a huge part of Waitangi Day, Costar said the occasion is also about so much more.
“It is symbolic of the two races of people working together as one.
“It’s not so much about New Zealand, it’s more about Emerald and of everyone coming together.”
The prized Emerald Waitangi Day trophy is a fitting representation of the significance of the event. It is made from two different varieties of timber, one from New Zealand and one from Australia and was hand-carved especially for the rugby match.
AS a prelude to the feature game two Central Highlands junior rugby union sides will showcase some of their talented prospects in games against Rockhampton representative sides.
CH Under-13 kick-off at 2pm at Morton Park, followed by the under-15 at 3pm and the main game at 5pm. There will also be a gold coin donation in operation to support the Queensland Flood Appeal.
“It is anybody’s to win.”
NZ team manager
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