Waikato sport waiting for ultimate high
It’s been a struggle this week for the Chiefs to knuckle down and avoid being caught up in the unprecedented wave of sporting success in the Waikato.
Hamilton hosts its first Super Rugby final on Saturday, where the red-hot locals are favoured to beat South Africa’s Sharks at a packed Waikato Stadium.
Still fresh in the mind for locals is Waikato Bay of Plenty’s trans-Tasman netball triumph – the first ever by a New Zealand team – while even more topical is the progress of the New Zealand rowing team at the London Olympics.
The rowers, who are based in Cambridge and churn out their training sessions on nearby Lake Karapiro, carry huge expectations this week – something the rugby players can relate to.
Fullback Robbie Robinson was blown away by the support for the district’s leading sportspeople, whether it was face to face or on social media sites.
He said none of it had been too overbearing for the Chiefs.
“There’s a pretty good feeling around the Waikato but, like the team, I think the public know we’ve got one more job to do,” Robinson told NZ Newswire.
“It’s pretty exciting times right now. I remember heading out into town once last week and seeing all the excitement and finding out about the support we had right throughout the region.”
Tickets to the final were snapped up in hours this week and, such is the demand, created a black market which had forced the Waikato Rugby Union to crack down on scalpers.
Westport-born Robinson said his side would harness the crowd support but warned it was important the team keep their cool on such a big occasion.
The 22-year-old has made an impact since shifting from Southland this year and made a handful of impressive bursts from the back in last week’s semi-final defeat of the Crusaders.
Robinson expects a relentless Sharks kicking game but wouldn’t rule out a more conservative approach from the Chiefs’ back three.
“You’ve always got to make good decisions from back there, whether it’s to kick or to run,” Robinson said.
“We are expecting a bit of an aerial bombardment but the Sharks do like to run it as well, we’ve got to see what sort of mood they’re in.”© AAP 2013
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