5 Nov 2010

Forward effort key if Waikato to take title off Canterbury

12:02 pm on 5 November 2010

It's set to be a bruising battle in the forwards as Canterbury welcome Waikato in tonight's provincial rugby final in Christchurch.

Canterbury are pushing for a third straight title and the Waikato coach Chris Gibbes is happy to talk up the champions as the benchmark for local rugby, while his side's relatively short of finals experience.

Gibbes says his pack is going to have to match Canterbury up front if the Mooloos are to have any chance on Friday night.

He's told his side to put any thoughts of their pool victory over Canterbury aside as they prepare to take on the red and blacks tonight.

Gibbes's Waikato team thrashed Canterbury by 20 points in Hamilton in the final round-robin game of the season, but he says in a final in Christchurch the Cantabs will be a completely different kettle of fish and he fears a backlash from Canterbury.

Gibbes has emphasised to his side this week that the 26-6 win has little bearing for them but is bound to be motivation for the home side.

Canterbury have never faced Waikato in the championship final before.