United bounce back

Wins to Toko, Ruatoria City, TVC, Uawa.

Wins to Toko, Ruatoria City, TVC, Uawa.

WINGER ON WINGER: Waiapu right wing Manu Papuni-Isles, with support from Tihei Turei prepares to take on his TVC opposite Kupu Holloway during an East Coast senior club rugby game on Saturday. TVC won 31-26. Picture by Doone Harrison

THREE close games at Te Araroa, Whakarua Park and Tokomaru Bay — and another at Tolaga Bay where Uawa were back to strength — made for enjoyable, hard Ngati Porou East Coast club rugby on Saturday.

Tokomaru Bay United beat Hicks Bay 44-31, Ruatoria City beat Tokararangi 27-17, TVC beat Waiapu 31-26 and Uawa beat Tawhiti 85-7.

Hicks Bay travelled to Tokomaru Bay to play United, who had defaultd to TVC the previous weekend.

On Saturday, though, United were warming up their full team and the men in black from Kawakawa Bay were going through their pre-game moves.

There was a minute’s silence for Hicks Bay’s oldest member, Brownie Waikari, who passed last week.

Hicks Bay centre Warren Henderson kicked off to the north, and United went on attack. Within five minutes United wing Denis Te Kahika had ripped down the sideline, evaded a couple of defenders and scored. The conversion attempt missed but it was game on.

Next to score was impressive United lock Adam Williams, whose try came from an extended movement. United were 10-0 up after 15 minutes.

Hicks Bay then went on attack for the first time. It took a while for their first points to come but flanker Tim Wheeler went over in a rolling maul — a move the disciplined Hicks Bay have mastered.

Hicks Bay’s equalising try came from a 30-metre break by captain and No.8 Frank Taiapa, who dotted down under the posts. First five-eighth Ryan Buchanan converted to put the visitors ahead 12-10.

United took the restart and went back inside the Hicks Bay half, with two strong runs from hooker Richard Tuhaka. At 30 minutes, Denis Te Kahika burst through for his second try.

Buchanan replied with a Hicks Bay try, which he converted to give the visitors a 19-15 lead at half time.

Both teams were playing a similar type of rugby. In the forwards it was great to see hard scrumming, lineouts and rucking by skilled players, and not too many early-season mistakes.

Spectators loved the long periods of open play. There were many intercepts and turnovers, with possession moving between teams.

It would be unfair to pick out any one player in either team. However, United hooker Tuhaka produced a superb “old bull” game — running the ball up, taking the knocks and tackling hard. Several years ago Tuhaka made a name for himself as captain of the lower North Island secondary school first 15, and it’s easy to see why.

It was also satisfying to see good skills among the forwards, and the ability of the big guys to move around the field.

No fault with the backs, either. Halfbacks Kaumoana Te Awhiti for Hicks Bay and Jason Matenga for United took it up themselves when they got the opportunity, and both fed the ball out to players who used it well.

Early in the second half, United lock Mike Tiopira scored, putting his team ahead 20-19. That try was soon followed by one to centre Canaan Parata, who ran 25 metres to finish off a back movement. Matt Marino converted to give United a 27-19 lead.

Captain and prop Mike Chambers-Raroa extended the lead further with a pick-and-run try, also converted by Marino ... 34-19.

United kept up the pressure, with tries to No.8 Tihei Patuwai and reserve Christian Lawton, diving from the back of the scrum. With 15 minutes to go United had a 44-19 lead.

But Hicks Bay staged a late run, and Henderson capped off a top-notch performance with a try. Reserve Warren Hooper followed up soon afterward, and Henderson converted to make the final score 44-31.

Either side could have won the game. The difference was dropped or missed balls, intercepts or a lucky break.

Neither of the new coaches — United coach Dave Martin for United or Rawiri Hoeroa for Hicks Bay — has anything to growl about.

Another positive was the number of forwards who scored tries.

Players of the day were Hicks Bay’s Warren Henderson and United’s Richard Tuhaka.

Tokomaru Bay United 44 (Denis Te Kahika 2, Adam Williams, Mike Tiopira, Canaan Parata, Mike Chambers-Raroa, Tihei Patuwai, Christian Lawton tries; Matt Marino 2 con). Hicks Bay 31 (Tim Wheeler, Frank Taiapa, Ryan Buchanan, Warren Henderson, Warren Hooper tries; Buchanan 2 con, Henderson con).

THREE close games at Te Araroa, Whakarua Park and Tokomaru Bay — and another at Tolaga Bay where Uawa were back to strength — made for enjoyable, hard Ngati Porou East Coast club rugby on Saturday.

Tokomaru Bay United beat Hicks Bay 44-31, Ruatoria City beat Tokararangi 27-17, TVC beat Waiapu 31-26 and Uawa beat Tawhiti 85-7.

Hicks Bay travelled to Tokomaru Bay to play United, who had defaultd to TVC the previous weekend.

On Saturday, though, United were warming up their full team and the men in black from Kawakawa Bay were going through their pre-game moves.

There was a minute’s silence for Hicks Bay’s oldest member, Brownie Waikari, who passed last week.

Hicks Bay centre Warren Henderson kicked off to the north, and United went on attack. Within five minutes United wing Denis Te Kahika had ripped down the sideline, evaded a couple of defenders and scored. The conversion attempt missed but it was game on.

Next to score was impressive United lock Adam Williams, whose try came from an extended movement. United were 10-0 up after 15 minutes.

Hicks Bay then went on attack for the first time. It took a while for their first points to come but flanker Tim Wheeler went over in a rolling maul — a move the disciplined Hicks Bay have mastered.

Hicks Bay’s equalising try came from a 30-metre break by captain and No.8 Frank Taiapa, who dotted down under the posts. First five-eighth Ryan Buchanan converted to put the visitors ahead 12-10.

United took the restart and went back inside the Hicks Bay half, with two strong runs from hooker Richard Tuhaka. At 30 minutes, Denis Te Kahika burst through for his second try.

Buchanan replied with a Hicks Bay try, which he converted to give the visitors a 19-15 lead at half time.

Both teams were playing a similar type of rugby. In the forwards it was great to see hard scrumming, lineouts and rucking by skilled players, and not too many early-season mistakes.

Spectators loved the long periods of open play. There were many intercepts and turnovers, with possession moving between teams.

It would be unfair to pick out any one player in either team. However, United hooker Tuhaka produced a superb “old bull” game — running the ball up, taking the knocks and tackling hard. Several years ago Tuhaka made a name for himself as captain of the lower North Island secondary school first 15, and it’s easy to see why.

It was also satisfying to see good skills among the forwards, and the ability of the big guys to move around the field.

No fault with the backs, either. Halfbacks Kaumoana Te Awhiti for Hicks Bay and Jason Matenga for United took it up themselves when they got the opportunity, and both fed the ball out to players who used it well.

Early in the second half, United lock Mike Tiopira scored, putting his team ahead 20-19. That try was soon followed by one to centre Canaan Parata, who ran 25 metres to finish off a back movement. Matt Marino converted to give United a 27-19 lead.

Captain and prop Mike Chambers-Raroa extended the lead further with a pick-and-run try, also converted by Marino ... 34-19.

United kept up the pressure, with tries to No.8 Tihei Patuwai and reserve Christian Lawton, diving from the back of the scrum. With 15 minutes to go United had a 44-19 lead.

But Hicks Bay staged a late run, and Henderson capped off a top-notch performance with a try. Reserve Warren Hooper followed up soon afterward, and Henderson converted to make the final score 44-31.

Either side could have won the game. The difference was dropped or missed balls, intercepts or a lucky break.

Neither of the new coaches — United coach Dave Martin for United or Rawiri Hoeroa for Hicks Bay — has anything to growl about.

Another positive was the number of forwards who scored tries.

Players of the day were Hicks Bay’s Warren Henderson and United’s Richard Tuhaka.

Tokomaru Bay United 44 (Denis Te Kahika 2, Adam Williams, Mike Tiopira, Canaan Parata, Mike Chambers-Raroa, Tihei Patuwai, Christian Lawton tries; Matt Marino 2 con). Hicks Bay 31 (Tim Wheeler, Frank Taiapa, Ryan Buchanan, Warren Henderson, Warren Hooper tries; Buchanan 2 con, Henderson con).

UAWA had been below strength the previous week, when the passing of two of NPEC vice-president Val Morrison’s grandchildren had rocked the community.

This week a fit, full-strength Uawa team ran on to the paddock. Again, the forwards worked effectively — No.8 Harley Phillips and prop Laman Davies scored two tries each, with hooker Nuku Moana and loosie/lock Kerehama Blackman dotting down once.

And this week they found a replacement for halfback Sam Parkes in Shey Tahata.

“Shey is smaller than Sam, but has the skills, delivers well and takes opportunities,” Uawa spokesman Sean Poananga told Radio Ngati Porou.

Uawa co-coach Peter Crawford was more than happy with Uawa’s workout, particularly noting the input of younger players.

Tawhiti’s Christine Collins said the Tawhiti structure not as strong as last week.

“The tight five weren’t there,” she said. “But we were pleased with our defence, though we did suffer a major injury.”

At the after-match function, Ray Falcon presented East Coast and Uawa veteran Boydie Donald with his Uawa life member blazer. Boydie orinally played for the Tauwhareparae club in 1972, and went to Uawa when the four Tolaga Bay clubs combined.

Uawa player of the day was Jesse Rye.

Uawa 85 (Harley Phillips 2, BJ Sidney 2, Laman Davies 2, Hayden Pardoe, Vllayne Whakataka, Storm Moran, Jesse Rye, Anton de Bretagne, Nuku Moana, Kerehama Blackman; Jordan Patrick 10 con) Tawhiti 7 (Don Manuel-Lima try; Logan Young con).

Another of the close games was City’s clash with Tokararangi at Te Araroa Domain.

City dominated scoring in the first half, and were up 20-5 at halftime, but Toka came back in the second half “when the stars showed up”, according to City manager Lorne Boyce-Goldsmith.

Boyce-Goldsmith said Regan Horsfall’s training with City forwards in scrums and pick-and-go was evident in the game.

Even though Toka coach Morgan Waitoa plays the long game, it would seem time Toka put some competition points on the board.

Toka lost the points for the previous week’s win against Hicks Bay.

It turned out Hone Haerewa was registered with his Wellington club when the March 11 game took place.

Ruatoria City 27 (Graeme Walker, Neihana Reihana, Raumati White, Pera Bishop tries; Nathaniel Fox 2 con, pen) Tokararangi 17 (Whetu Waitoa, Pamona Samupo, Teiana Potei tries; Samupo con).


TVC travelled to Rangitukia to play Waiapu in what turned out to be the closest match of the weekend.

It was TVC’s first game of the season after last weekend’s default.

It was a close-fought game in the forwards — where both teams are strong — but also between two good sets of backs.

However, when the Fat Lady sang, TVC were ahead.

TVC coach Whetu Haerewa said prop Rawiri Waititi had “turned into an 80-minute player” — not only 80 minutes but two tries as well.

TVC 31 (Rawiri Waititi 2, William Ford, Robert Haerewa, Floyd Haerewa tries; Robert Haerewa 3 con) Waiapu 26.

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