The best four U85 clubs in the country will duke it out for a place on the big stage as the NZ Barbarians U85 Club Cup Semi-Finals hit the town on Saturday.
Auckland University Squids v Avalon Rugby
1.00 pm kick-off at Colin Maiden #Field 10
Eastbourne RFC v Eden Lizards
12.00 pm kick-off at Evans Bay Park: 1
Local club rivalries have been replaced by provincial rivalries this week as the University Squids (Auckland) host the Avalon Wolves (Wellington), while the Eden Lizards (Auckland) travel south to face the Eastbourne Seagulls (Wellington) at Evans Bay Park in Kilbirnie.
Avalon will make the trek north, but adversity is nothing new for this team who has largely stayed together for the last eight or nine seasons, moving from division three to division one winners in Wellington’s U85 2019 competition.
Two victories with margins of less than five against Hamilton Marist and Poneke has seen the Wolves march on to the top four, and coach Bruce Chase believes they can do the same against the Squids.
“We’re very excited obviously, looking forward to the game. This is a big deal right, it’s a big occasion for us. This team has come a long way; we are a pretty tight unit actually. It’s a whole new experience for a lot of these guys, so long may it continue,” Bruce says.
However, the Squids will be a handful at their beloved Colin Maiden Park, having seen off a worthy challenge from Karaka in the Quarter Finals.
Eden hits the road for the first time in their campaign, after comfortably beating Pukekohe and Waiuku, before a come-from-behind victory against Ponsonby (33-19) saw them through to the last four.
They face an Eastbourne side still buzzing from their 22-15 Quarter-Final win against Wellington at SKY Stadium on October 17.
The winners will face-off in the inaugural NZ Barbarians U85 Club Cup Final in Auckland on November 7, where New Zealand’s best U85 club will be crowned.