Returning troops reinforce Freyberg for clash with OBM

Freyberg should be close to full squad in the club competition this weekend.

David Unwin / Stuff

Freyberg should be close to full squad in the club competition this weekend.

RUGBY: Freyberg could look like a full-fledged team after a few weeks understaffed.

Injuries and player unavailability have hampered Freyberg this year, but they have started to recover troops, which they will need against Old Boys-Marist at the Arena on Saturday.

OB-Marist moved up to second place and are among the in-form teams, having beaten Feilding 30-28 to the death last week.

Freyberg are last with just one win this season, but when they have their full squad they have the ability to beat teams, as they showed against Kia Toa earlier this year.

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Freyberg lost 46-17 to College Old Boys last weekend, but this week coach Potene Paewai expected some of his injured men to come back and field nearly his strongest lineup.

Winger Varcon King returns after spending eight weeks on the sidelines with a broken arm and center Chance Malu is back after a five-week suspension for a reckless tackle on Te Kawau.

Loose forward Jamie Maoate is also back from injury, while Hurricanes Under-20 frontrowers Feleti Sae-Ta’ufu’ou and Raymond Tuputupu are also expected to play.

OBM won 27-12 in the first round.

Kia Toa hopes of catching the top four will face a stern test when they host Felding at Bill Brown Park.

The No. 5 Kias began a late-season charge to the top four, but Feilding could determine whether they will continue.

The Yellows were brought down late by OB-Marist last week and are now third, so they won’t fancy back-to-back defeats.

Feilding, who won 32-13 in the first round, could miss star guard Drew Wild, who suffered an ankle injury while playing for the Manawatū Evergreens against Hawke’s Bay Saracens in Pahīatua on Monday.

Wing flank Eseroma Waqalevu could be out with a collarbone issue.

college old boys host University on their alumni day at Queen Elizabeth College, looking to keep their place in the top four.

Kia Toa is now blowing on College’s neck and they could be under pressure to stay in the top four if they lose and Kias wins.

Varisty got the bye last week, although a core of players played an important role in the Evergreens’ game against Hawke’s Bay, while COB is coming off a win over Freys.

The first-round match was a high-scoring affair won by Varsity 43-33.

In the women’s competition, there is one week left in the round robin of the top four and bottom three.

Feilding Old Boys-Ōroua and Old Boys-Marist will be scrapped for one of the best positions of their Arena game.

FOB-Ōroua tops the standings, having beaten Kia Toa 21-0 last weekend, and is in the top four.

But OB-Marist won in the first round and must win to get into the top two.

Kia Toa should lock the other first place when hosting Bush at Bill Brown Park. Bush is struggling to crack the top four.

In the last three Wanganui Metro host Wairarapa Wahine in what will determine who will finish on top.

The Feilding High School The North Island Center XV’s first competitive game against St John’s College Hamilton has been postponed due to illness in the St John’s squad.

Palmerston North Boys Secondary School host Hastings Boys’ High School in the Super 8 at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Saturday draw:

Men, 2:45 p.m.: Kia Toa vs. Feilding, Bill Brown Park; OB-Marist versus Freyberg, Arena; COB vs. Varsity, Queen Elizabeth College; Te Kawau goodbye.

Women: Top 4: Kia Toa vs. Bush, Bill Brown Park; OB-Marist versus FOB-Ōroua, Arena. Three down: Whanganui Metro vs. Wairarapa Wahine, Whanganui, 2:30 p.m.; Ashhurst Pohangina goodbye.

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