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The table is all set for St Johns Whanganui Metro to get the MRU Colts scalp they have craved for more than three years this Saturday, when undefeated rivals the Feilding Yellows come to Spriggens Park.
With the Yellows (4-2-0) on their bye week at the end of the first round last Saturday, Metro (5-0-1) moved back to the top of the table with a 33-0 shutout of Freyberg Old Boys at Colquhoun Park.
Freyberg (2-2-2), had drawn 15-15 with the Yellows back on April 24, but despite having finally caught up to Feilding in terms of ability, Metro have yet to take the defending champions down a notch, losing 16-15 on April 10 despite scoring three tries to two.
They proceeded to demolish everybody else – five straight wins with 239 points scored to 39 conceded.
"We've got a challenge on Saturday, and the boys will be up for it," said coach Mark Cosford.
"Since Russell Gedye and I started coaching them, we haven't beaten these guys. This Saturday's going to be the one."
Against Freyberg on their home ground, first-five Joey Devine had an 18-point haul from two tries and four conversions.
Vice captain Jack O'Leary added two more tries to his growing tally, while prop Emanual Savage, who won the 2018 title with Metro, also dotted down.
Cosford singled out flanker Neo Tichbon and centre Paiki Ponga, who switched in from fullback, for having standout games.
The coach will be looking for a big effort from his pack this week, having spoken in the past of all the Manawatu teams' propensity to stick to repeat phases through the channels off the breakdown.
"If we just manage to be more aggressive on defence, around the ruck, we'll get turnover ball.
"We feel we've got them out wide, so if the forwards create pressure, the backs will do the rest."
After a couple of players have been unavailable at different stages for the past two weeks, the coach has a full roster to pick from on Saturday.
Kickoff is 1pm at Spriggens Park.