Old Golds need to ‘get mindset back’

Show time . . . North Otago will line up against Horowhenua Kapiti in a televised clash at Whitestone Contracting Stadium tomorrow. In action during last week's match against Mid Canterbury are (clockwise from bottom left) Lisivani Tuifua, Tini Feke and Epineri Logavatu, while assistant coach Ralph Darling and head coach Jason Forrest watch on from a truck and Seta Koroitamana tries to break through a Mid Canterbury tackle. PHOTOS: KAYLA HODGE

Jason Forrest is determined to reverse his team’s fortunes.

Horowhenua Kapiti has been North Otago’s ‘‘bogey’’ team in recent years, but tomorrow’s match poses an opportunity for history to be ignored.

‘‘We haven’t played well against them in the past and that’s going to change this week,’’ the Old Golds head coach said.

‘‘We’re going to put a performance on the field . . .that we can be proud of, that is the major thing, and then for the supporters.’’

It is a big game in the team’s season, and for the union too, as it will be televised on Sky TV and Prime.

‘‘Our boys are pretty excited about it.’’

Horowhenua Kapiti is in sixth place, one point ahead of North Otago, having dropped only one game — to South Canterbury — this year.

The Old Golds come into tomorrow’s match after two tough losses — 36-17 against South Canterbury and 40-35 against Mid Canterbury in a golden point thriller in Kurow.

The team needed to adjust its mindset, take last week’s loss ‘‘on the chin’’ and be better, Forrest said.

‘‘Our season’s not done.

‘‘We’ve just got to get back on the bandwagon this week and get back to having some fun.

‘‘We had one of the best defensive records over the pre-pseason, and into our first two games, so we’ve just got to get that mindset back.’’

Horowhenua Kapiti would not be easy, but the Old Golds needed to get ‘‘back on the horse’’ and secure five points.

The home side has continued to be hit hard with injuries this season. First five Josh Robertson-Weepu has ruptured his achilles and is out for the season, prop Lisivani Tuifua is out with a knee injury and fellow prop Sione Palaa is sidelined with a calf injury.

Lock Josh Clark has a torn bicep and fellow lock Manulua Taiti is a possibility for this week, but Forrest did not want to rush his return either.

‘‘It’s just one of those seasons for us at the moment. We’re really tested in regards to our depth,’’ he said.

Valley prop Jake Greenslade has been elevated from the development side, and other local players, including Zac Strange, could get a run.

North Otago struggled to find its momentum last week against Mid Canterbury. After starting with a Mone Samate try in the corner, the team ‘‘completely went off the boil’’ and had an error›ridden first half to trail 20-5.

Following some ‘‘stern words’’ from the coaches, the home team came back strongly and led 35-30 with one minute to go. Then came a string of bad decisions — North Otago kicked the ball back to Mid Canterbury, flanker Seta Koroitamana was yellow carded, and then Mid Canterbury scored to level the score 35-35 at full time.

Heartland rules stipulated the game had go to golden point, and Mid Canterbury scored almost immediately to win.

It was a frustrating game, but Forrest said his players would take many lessons from the loss.

Forrest encouraged the community to get down to Whitestone Contracting Stadium tomorrow and support the team.

Sam Sturgess will play his 50th cap for North Otago. Kick off was at the earlier time of 1.30pm for television.