Passion plus in local derby

Rugby Union

By TANIA PHILLIPS

COOLANGATTA-Tweed Barbarians will put their mid-week off-field dramas behind them to play arch-rivals and near neighbours Palm Beach-Currumbin in their Gold Coast and District Rugby Union at Bienvue Avenue this afternoon.

It is a big day for PBC who continue their 25th anniversary celebrations with a dinner at the Gold Coast Convention Centre tonight from 6.30pm.

The Barbarians were rocked this weekend by the eight-week suspension of key fullback Afa Sauia for a dangerous tackle in last week's ill-fated game against Surfers Paradise.

The Surfers game was called off with 15 minutes to go after an all-in brawl sparked by Sauia's tackle.

"I would be lying if I said it hadn't disrupted the side," Baa Baas coach David Proctor said.

He said the players had been disappointed with the decision and practice this week had not been good.

However he said he hoped the situation would motivate his side to do well.

"We have moved everyone around and Nathan Woodward will slip into the full-back role," he said.

"But we are not a one-man team, although it (Sauia's suspension) will be a dent in our backline. We will adjust."

The Baa Baas defeated Palm Beach last time the two teams met early last month, and Proctor believes his side is capable of upsetting their neighbours again.

Palm Beach led 19-3 in the first game only to have the Baa Baas fight back.

But with its 25th anniversary celebrations in full-swing, Palm Beach will be keen to deliver on the field.

The side has John Kupa coming back in from a broken arm - just two weeks ago. He will play with a heavy bandage. But even despite Kupa's return Palm Beach still has a long injury list.

In the other games, Surfers Paradise take on Helensvale, Eagles play Colleges and Nerang faces Bond University.



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