Four Citizens Shield teams are heading into the unknown tomorrow.
For the first time this season, Excelsior will play Athletic Marist and Maheno will take on Valley.
The round one games between the four teams were postponed due to Covid-19 and the clubs opted to split the points.
It is a tight competition this year and the games could prove vital as teams need all the points they can get to secure top-four spots.
In Oamaru, Athies comes into the match against Blues after a disappointing 43-7 loss to Maheno last week.
Manager Graham Pitches said the team lacked energy in the ‘‘must-win’’ match, but would be fired up tomorrow.
‘‘We always have a tough battle with Blues; it’s the battle of the car park,’’ Pitches said.
‘‘Everybody grows another leg for that one.’’
Athies needed to have more cohesion as a team, instead of playing as individuals, and ‘‘front up’’.
Blues coach Hamish McKenzie said the competition was tight this year and any team could win on its day. Blues lost to Kurow 20-13 last week but was right in the game, with scores level 6-6 at half time.
McKenzie was looking forward to Blues finally being able to play its rivals from across the car park.
Blues has been hit with injuries and player unavailability all season. The club’s president’s grade players had been called up at times, and McKenzie himself had to pull on the jersey last Saturday.
In another interesting match-up, Valley heads down the road to play Maheno tomorrow.
Maheno is really starting to click, and after its big win against Athies last weekend, has moved into the top four for the first time this season.
Maheno’s Lachie Kingan is the Citizens Shield leading try-scorer, while half back Robbie Smith is the top points-scorer.
Valley lost to Old Boys 40-24 last weekend and will be wanting to collect full points against Maheno. The Weston club had a good start against Old Boys going up 19-0, and will want to get on the front foot early against Maheno.
Old Boys will take a trip up the Waitaki Valley to play Kurow. The last time they met, Kurow edged Old Boys 24-22.
Both teams had a win last week, moving Old Boys to the top of the table, and Kurow into second.
Kurow has made it two from two.
The Waitaki Valley team beat Excelsior 49-12 at Centennial Park on Saturday to secure its place at the top of the table, and Union is on the board now too, after beating Valley 28-17 in Ngapara.
Tomorrow, Excelsior plays Union at Centennial Park and Kurow hosts Valley. Both games start at 1pm.
The Waitaki Wahine suffered another big loss at the weekend, beaten 55-0 by Alhambra-Union at Whitestone Contracting Stadium. The Wahine had a strong scrum and put together good phases in patches, but huge lapses in defence and some runaway tries allowed the Dunedin club to clear out for a big win.
The Wahine have the bye tomorrow before playing their final game of the season against Big River Country, in Milton, on June 4.
Waitaki Boys’ High School nearly beat the reigning Otago Schools Rugby Championship winner last weekend.
The Oamaru secondary school’s first XV lost 22-20 to Otago Boys’ in Oamaru on Saturday, after trailing 22-13 at the break.
Winger Simione Toganivalu scored a try to bring Waitaki Boys’ within two, but the team could not quite get there in the end.
St Kevin’s College suffered a hefty 79-0 loss at home to John McGlashan College. St Kevin’s will play Southland Boys’ High School at home tomorrow at 12pm. Waitaki Boys’ will host John McGlashan College at Don Field tomorrow at 12.45pm.