Coffs clash will decide 'equals'

OF all the games of rugby planned for 2009, Friday night's clash between the Coffs Breakers and Coffs Crushers is the most anticipated by players in the teams as well as every rugby fan in town.

With the entry of two 'equal' sides from Coffs Rugby in the AbiGroup MNC Rugby competition this year, everyone has been waiting for the two Coffs Rugby teams to take on each other and the wait is nearly over.

Both teams were destined to play each other back in the opening round but the club put the match back four weeks to make this Friday's big event the first of an annual ANZAC tribute with mate against mate.

Festivities begin at 6.00pm with the old boys from the previous Coffs clubs playing a 'Beaches' v 'Harlequins' game before the main event kicks off at 7.00pm.

“Some of the guys are a bit nervous as previously we have had an A and B team,” Coffs Rugby president Matt Quirk said.

“This year it is anyone's game and they will have bragging rights until they meet up again in seven weeks.”

Quirk says that the introduction of two equal teams is working a treat as far as the club reaching its overall goal is concerned.

“Our aim is to develop rugby over the next few years and bring back two reserve-grade and under-19 teams. It is working so far, as we have over 60 senior players.”

As long as the rain holds off, Friday night's clash promises to be one of the best seen at Park Beach Plaza Rugby Park with key match-ups right across the ground for both the Breakers and Crushers.

At prop there's Nick Joyce against Matt Hoy, Paul Butcher going eye-to-eye with Craig Landrigan at number 8, Ben Wallace facing Kevin Simpson at fly half, Leith Vaughan against Brendan Hoy at inside centre and speedsters Dylan Hurley and Will Guest testing each other at fullback.

Both coaches believe they are the underdogs with Rob Hoy (Crushers) suggesting that the Breakers are younger and fitter while Paul Butcher and Nick Joyce have no doubt that the Crushers have the edge with their pack and experienced backline.

If last year's clash is any guide, the sounding of the ANZAC bugle prior to kick-off might be the last time some of these guys are friends.

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