By MARTHA DERUAGE
THE undefeated Kramer Ausenco Brothers take on Trukai Harlequins in the Capital Rugby Union grand final at Bava Park, Port Moresby, on Saturday.
Brothers, who have won 15 games on the trot including the opening week of the finals when they beat defending champions University 31-15 to be the first qualifier for the CRU decider.
University coach Paul Joseph said Brothers were “the team to beat” and the former Pukpuk star would know a great attacking side when he saw one with the men in black featuring a backline with five national sevens representatives in Wesley Vali, Eugene Tokavai, Hensley Peter, Clint Kut and Arthur Clement as well as veteran mid-fielder Tisa Kautu.
Brothers coach Joe Kautu said his men were focused on playing clean, fast, attacking rugby but would adapt their game to suit.
He said holding on to the ball would be their aim in the big game.
Kauto said captain and lock Ahulo Ottio, Taugau Tau, Dumaya Dogon and Vali would be the men to lead the side.
“I expect our two senior players Ahulo (Ottio) and Taugau (Tau) to lead the team the way they have all season,” Kautu said.
“They were the last surviving member’s from the 2008 POMRFU grand final so they have a lot of experience and should able to lead the team well against Harlies.
“Last year we came close but we lost to University in the grand final but so far it’s a big achievement for the club to go through the season undefeated, and it would mean a lot if we could win the title.
Kautu said the final would be different from all the other games and despite being unbeaten Brothers would not be complacent.
“We are trying to focus on ourselves rather than on the opposition.
“We won’t underestimate Harlequins because they have some really good players and have come back from a tough season. As far as I can see they have nothing to lose since because no one expected them to make the finals.”
Harlequins, on the other hand, are hoping to end a blemished season with a morale-boosting win in the final.
Harlies fought their way from second last on the ladder to snatch a finals berth and then won two games in the finals including last week’s 35-17 victory over Uni.
Harlequins three grades were suspended for three matches by the CRU board during the season after an on-field assault by premier grade player Avosa Kaipu on Nova’s Elipema Kini resulted in a broken arm.
A member of the coaching staff was also banned from involvement with the competition and club after the incident.
But on return from suspension Harlies premier side led by flanker Desmond Korpok set about rebuilding their season and Saturday’s final will be the culmination of two months of hard work and a desire to finish off on a positive note.
It will be the mult-coloured’s first final appearance in five years.
Harlies coach Billy Rapilla said there was an excitement in the club after they qualified for the decider.
“We were pretty excited to make the finals, and now we look forward to the grand final,” Rapilla said.
“We obviously had a tough season this year, but we’re happy to make the last game of the season and hopefully we can play well for ourselves and our supporters.”
Harlequins five-eighth Ishmael Indepine has been a key performer for the side in their run to the finals and much will be expected of him but with skipper Korpok providing the leadership and the calmness they need, the talented No.10 should be able to have an impact on the outcome.
The final will be refereed by Australian Damien Mitchelmore, who arrived yesterday.
Mitchelmore will run a referee clinic for local CRU referees today in preparation for the weekend.
Grand Final Fixtures: Sat, Aug 18 – 0900 U19: Valley Hunters v Nova; 1030 B: Wanderers v Brothers; 1230 W: Nova v Wanderers; 1400 A: University v Nova; Premier: Brothers v Harlequins.
Brothers squad: Forwards — Tony Sipa, George Wai, Bomai Kaupa, Ahulo Ottio, Boas Roboam, Mathew Owadeba, Geti Raka, Taugau Tau, Trevor Kune, Nelson Thoa, Moseley Aimesa, Apelis Gerson; Backs — Thomas Singoina, Arthur Clement, Eugene Tokavai, Tisa Kautu, Clint Kut, Dumaya Dogon, Hensley Peter, Wesley Vali, John Yagas, Rueben Kenake.
Harlequins: 1. Kingsley Sarufa 2. Carl Asi 3.Trevor Meaporo 4. Fairi Fairi 5. Gabriel Biyama 6. Dikas Talere 7. Desmond Korpok (c) 8. Bradley Wyatt 9. Philip Singona 10. Ishmael Indepine 11. Isaac Aquila 12. Ian Grant 13. Yonnie Patrick 14. Elton Una 15. Chris Kakah; Reserves: Uson Gani, Shayne Ralena, Grant Gawi, Heni Billy, Breddie Boyap, Terence Biyama, Eugene Tovue, Ako Lawrence.
By MARTHA DERUAGE