The New Zealand players set the tone for the 2011 Waitangi Day rugby union match at Emerald, which the Kiwis won 20–7. Photo: Terry Hill
The New Zealand players set the tone for the 2011 Waitangi Day rugby union match at Emerald, which the Kiwis won 20–7. Photo: Terry Hill

World's chance to avenge defeat

THE Rest of the World is keen to claim back title rights in this year's Waitangi Day rugby match - but they'll need every advantage they can summon with the New Zealand backline looking sharper than ever.

The annual rugby exhibition match, which pits an invitational Rest of the World side against a locally-based Kiwi side, recognises New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi - an agreement reached between the Maori people and the British Crown in 1840.

New Zealand team spokesman and Waitangi Day co-ordinator Zac Costar is wary of a resurgent World side, which was beaten 20-7 in last year's match.

"Right now, we've got a strong backline but, as for the forwards, we'll have to wait and see," Costar said.

"I think the World might have a few ring-ins but it will be basically a CH (representative) side that we'll be up against.

"They'll be strong as always and they get keener and keener every year."

This year's match takes place on February 11 and will move from Emerald's Morton Park rugby ground to McIndoe Oval to accommodate the growing crowd numbers.

Central Highlands' rugby juniors will challenge a Rockhampton representative team in a curtain-raiser to the big game, with the local prospects rapidly on the rise.

"Our boys are looking very sharp," Costar said.

Organisers are also on the lookout for any "rah-rah" veterans willing to don the studs for a "Golden Oldies" one-off hit-out, which will also be played before the main game.

With preliminary training runs already under way, Costar said the committee was planning to meet either tonight or tomorrow evening to discuss further details for Emerald's Waitangi Day rugby match.

For further information, contact Zac on 0417 766 407.


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