Settled East Coast confident of defending Meads Cup

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013    James Mortimer    Getty Images

East Coast lost 65-10 to a powerful Waikato side in their Ranfurly Shield challenge last month, but one only had to be at the ground to see the tremendous passion the side generates, showcasing their traditional haka while playing a belligerent style based around explosive power up front.

Captain Tau Moeke said it was “awesome” that the season was about to be launched as All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads was on hand to survey the combatants who will battle it out for the honour to lift the cup named after New Zealand’s Player of the 20th Century.

Moeke said that the team was looking to go back-to-back.

“Hopes are always high”, he said.

“We’ve got the same systems and the same boys, so there is a good feeling around as we hope to start off the competition with a win.”

“All of our preseason matches we have lost, losing to Bay of Plenty, that Shield match and recently against Eastern Bays (so) we are hoping to get back on track and be in the winner’s circle as it all begins."

East Coast, whose supporters are amongst the most passionate in the Pink Batts Heartland Championship, were hoping to ensure they could make their fans proud.

“Even when we aren’t doing well the expectations are high,” Moeke laughed.

With Pink Batts on board as competition sponsor, one of the real gems of New Zealand Rugby was well supported, and Moeke said the team and players appreciated all support as the season kicked off.

“All support is well appreciated,” he said.

“Heartland rugby and all the communities are stoked that Pink Batts are able to be part of it all.”

While East Coast were the team with the big bullseye on their jerseys, as always Moeke and his team were wary of the challenge from one of the established powerhouses of the competition.

“We’re always worried about Wanganui,” he said.

“They’ve made every final, and they will be our biggest challenge, while we’re wary about North Otago as well.”

“We’ve also heard about Wairarapa Bush (the 2006 winners) being in some pretty good form, so really we’ve got to keep our eyes on every team.”