Canterbury Country will go into their Craw Shield match against Canterbury Metro on Sunday at Kaiapoi on a high after beating Southland Country 36-13.
After narrowly losing their opening game to Marlborough in Blenheim a fortnight ago, Canterbury Country dominated at set-piece time to ease past Southland Country in Darfield on Saturday.
Canterbury Country coach Nigel Smith said while he was happy with their scrum and lineout dominance, he admitted their defensive pattern and skill execution on attack would need to be better against Metro.
Canterbury Country have not beaten Metro in 10 years,
“We dominated early in the scrums and won seven lineouts on their ball so that laid a good platform. Not everyone has bought into the defensive pattern just yet, but it was better than week one,” he said.
“We identified the space well on attack and ran hard at the line, but our skill execution let us down. We probably left 20 points out there,”
Smith praised Springston centre, Shaun Harrington.
“He ran the ball hard all day and was defensively very committed. We call his position ‘the edge’ and he made sure there were no defensive holes there,” Smith said.
“This weekend is our big game and we’ll have to execute as best we can.”
Smith said, with the match acting as a Canterbury B trial, he hoped several players will put in big performances to try and impress the selectors.
“I’ve been really impressed with a lot of our young talent and hopefully that shows through on Saturday.”
Smith said players like Glenmark-Cheviot blindside flanker Ben Anderson and Waihora prop Jim Cummings continued to impress.
“I’m not sure how Ben does it. He’ll steal your lineout ball and he’s always near the ball around the field – he’s got a big work rate,” Smith said.
“Jim is a guy we picked on a whim three years ago and he’s got better every single game for us. He solidifies our scrum.”
•Sunday’s match at Kaiapoi will kick off at 3pm.