Hiku score more tries but City win game

Fox's kicking crucial.

Fox's kicking crucial.

PLAYED A SUPERB HAND: Nathaniel Fox scored two tries and kicked four penalty goals and a conversion in Ruatoria City’s 29-21 victory over Waiapu in East Coast club rugby on Saturday. File picture by Doone Harrison

RUATORIA City second five-eighth Nathaniel Fox kicked three conversions and two penalties to supply vital cream for City as they beat Hikurangi 32-29 at Whakarua Park on Saturday, in the sixth week of the East Coast senior rugby competition.

Hiku won the try count five to four, but their conversions added only four points, although one of fullback Billy Manuel’s attempts came close, hitting the left upright well above the crossbar.

Fox’s accurate, strong kicks were just one facet of the best game on the Coast this year. It had everything — disallowed tries, plenty of forward tries and a forward playing out on the wing and scoring a hat-trick of tries, just like he did last week.

The battle for dominance began in fine weather with a slight breeze. Territorial gains see-sawed, with do-or-die defence from both teams.

City gained many penalties at this stage, and one of them took them well inside the Hiku 22. City’s Codey Ellis went over to score the first try, unconverted.

This galvanised Hiku on to attack. They set up rucks and tried to spin the ball along the backs. The problem was getting it past second-five Rob Ngarimu. He turned back inside and died with the ball time after time, instead of utilising the superb players outside him. Tries went begging time after time.

Instead, City flanker Rob Andrews scored next, and Fox’s conversion took their lead to 12-0.

Hiku wing Tanetoa Parata then came close to scoring, following a penalty to Hiku, a ruck and a strong run. But they were called back for a five-metre scrum.

City sent play down into the Hiku half, and Parata showed his defensive ability with a crunching tackle normally seen in State of Origin, Game 2 — totally legal, very hard, great body position, and a slow couple of minutes for City’s man.

Battle of the forwards

The battle of the forwards was in full swing, with Hiku loosies Rhys Walker, Pakanui Webb and Trent Proffit all doing their jobs well. Front-rowers Joey Keelan, Kareti Palmer and Ngarimu Parata led the tight five, and lock Ma Parata dominated the front-of-lineout jumping.

Add in City props Pera Bishop, having a fine game, and Kenny Smith, and hooker Matt Downey, well-supported by locks Tim Barbarich and Codey Ellis, and there was little room to move.

Injuries and absences affected both teams. City were without Paddy Allen (knee sprain) and Chayse Skudder (back). Hikurangi’s George and Jesse Tuala were at a family event in Samoa.

Referee Harawira Matahiki showed at an early stage that he wasn’t putting up with ongoing debate about penalty calls, and was in a marching mood. At the 30-minute mark Hiku were penalised and started stating their case, and lost a valuable 10 metres. City enjoyed the penalty, but Tanetoa Parata finished making his point with Hiku’s first try, converted by Kareti Palmer.

Fox added a penalty to take City’s lead to 15-7.

Hiku went straight back at their opposition, flicking the ball out through the backs to Manuel, who scored out wide. Fabyan Kahaki missed the conversion, and City led 15-12 at the break.

At this stage, the tension could be cut with a knife, and both fan-bases were hoarse. That’s what you get with two strong teams, playing intelligent rugby. The nature of the defence was illustrated by the low scores.

Both teams were playing the game they wanted to, and the first 40 had seen some extremely good rugby. Running the line was Coast co-coach Wayne Ensor, and he was stoked with the game — he might have even added a few names to his list.

Former Coast rep Drummond Morice, Winiata Blane — scorer of Hiku’s winning try in the 2016 final — and hooker Moni Soutar came on in the second half for Hiku, and were joined by City replacements who included Lorne Boyce-Goldsmith, and the intensity continued.

City first-five Corey Walker’s forearm was broken late in the first half. One of City’s three coaches, Ian Logan, replaced Logan and took command of the City backs. Logan is a tactical player who seems to keep a plan of the field and its protagonists inside his head.

Logan's moves

Logan’s every move is delivered in a measured, tidy, professional way. Each pass meets the man, each of his strong kicks does exactly what he planned for it.

Most of the second half was like the first — skilled, multi-phased play often covering most of the field, and then a counter-attack right up to the other 22 — but the wind died right off.

An example was soon after the restart when City won a scrum. The ball got tangled in a ruck, so Matahiki called a Hiku scrum. After an apparent lack of binding, a City penalty failed to find touch and was scooped up by Hiku, who sent it to the backs and made ground, but fumbled a pass. A City scrum fed the ball to Logan whose long kick was taken by Tanetoa Parata. He was held and not allowed to release, and the Hiku penalty was followed by a Hiku scrum. Loose play culminated in a City penalty . . . you almost need a lie-down after that lot.

But Fox wasn’t resting — he drilled the penalty to make the score 18-12 to City.

Hiku responded quickly from the restart and gained a penalty 10 metres from the City line. Kareti Palmer ran over to score, Billy Manuel converted and Hiku were ahead, 19-18, with 25 minutes to go.

Tanetoa Parata seemed more contained in the second half. City general Logan ran hard to keep as close as he could to Parata’s second try, scored after a dash down the line. Words were exchanged in the far corner, Billy Manuel hit the upright and Hiku led 24-18.

Then it looked like Hiku were on a roll: Billy Manuel sprinted 60 metres or more, and ball met grass under the posts. But no, a City penalty was awarded instead, and no-backchat Matahiki inflicted more pain with a 10m march.

City were now 15 metres out from the line, and prop Pera Bishop went over for their third try, duly converted by Fox, and City were ahead 25-24.

With under 10 minutes to go, spectators were trying to work out who wanted to win most. The answer was easy — both did.

City then produced a bit of great rugby. Halfback Neihana Ratahi sprinted down the line and put in a low kick that stayed three metres inside the line, Bishop scooped the ball up a couple of metres out and flicked it to hooker Downey, who forced his way over. Again, Fox converted from out wide . . . 32-24.

But it wasn’t over. Tanetoa Parata had more to do. His third try closed the gap to 32-29. The conversion failed and the final whistle blew.

Ruatoria City 32 (Codey Ellis, Rob Andrews, Pera Bishop, Matt Downey tries; Nathaniel Fox 3 con, 2 pen) Hikurangi 29 (Tanetoa Parata 3, Billy Manuel, Kareti Palmer tries; Fabyan Kahaki, Billy Manuel con).

Waiapu at Tokomaru Bay

Waiapu coach Len Wawatai took his team to Tokomaru Bay on Saturday to take on the men he regards as United’s “hearty forwards and slick backs”.

The two clubs are well-matched, although United were missing a few — some were injured and several were attending a tangi. Waiapu seemed to have had most of their men. They have a more formidable squad this year with their big, skilled run-on men backed by the even bigger lot on the bench.

“My focus is trying to add some structure to Waiapu’s game and doing the basics right,” Wawatai said, and that could be the key to his team’s high place on the ladder this year.

Like City, Waiapu have a strong kicker in Slade Tiopira, who could add more than cream in future games. He converted four of his team’s five tries, and added two penalties.

United coach Dave Martin is hoping he will have all his men back next week for the local derby against Uawa, but it’s always useful to have Joe Chaffey saunter in from Bexhaven to add points.

Waiapu 39 (Tari Ao Tuhura-Stevenson 3, Perrin Manuel, Manu Papuni-Isles tries, Slade Tiopira 4 con, 2 pen) United 17 (Caanan Parata, Keely Hautapu, Joe Chaffey tries; Matt Marino con).

P W L D BP Pts

TVC 5 4 - 1 5 23

Ruatoria City 4 4 - 1 5 23

Hikurangi 4 4 - - 6 22

Waiapu 4 3 2 - 5 17

Uawa 5 2 3 - 4 12

Hicks Bay 5 2 3 - 4 12

Tokararangi 6 2 3 - 2 10

Toko Bay Utd 6 2 3 - 2 10

Tawhiti 4 - 4 - - 0

RUATORIA City second five-eighth Nathaniel Fox kicked three conversions and two penalties to supply vital cream for City as they beat Hikurangi 32-29 at Whakarua Park on Saturday, in the sixth week of the East Coast senior rugby competition.

Hiku won the try count five to four, but their conversions added only four points, although one of fullback Billy Manuel’s attempts came close, hitting the left upright well above the crossbar.

Fox’s accurate, strong kicks were just one facet of the best game on the Coast this year. It had everything — disallowed tries, plenty of forward tries and a forward playing out on the wing and scoring a hat-trick of tries, just like he did last week.

The battle for dominance began in fine weather with a slight breeze. Territorial gains see-sawed, with do-or-die defence from both teams.

City gained many penalties at this stage, and one of them took them well inside the Hiku 22. City’s Codey Ellis went over to score the first try, unconverted.

This galvanised Hiku on to attack. They set up rucks and tried to spin the ball along the backs. The problem was getting it past second-five Rob Ngarimu. He turned back inside and died with the ball time after time, instead of utilising the superb players outside him. Tries went begging time after time.

Instead, City flanker Rob Andrews scored next, and Fox’s conversion took their lead to 12-0.

Hiku wing Tanetoa Parata then came close to scoring, following a penalty to Hiku, a ruck and a strong run. But they were called back for a five-metre scrum.

City sent play down into the Hiku half, and Parata showed his defensive ability with a crunching tackle normally seen in State of Origin, Game 2 — totally legal, very hard, great body position, and a slow couple of minutes for City’s man.

Battle of the forwards

The battle of the forwards was in full swing, with Hiku loosies Rhys Walker, Pakanui Webb and Trent Proffit all doing their jobs well. Front-rowers Joey Keelan, Kareti Palmer and Ngarimu Parata led the tight five, and lock Ma Parata dominated the front-of-lineout jumping.

Add in City props Pera Bishop, having a fine game, and Kenny Smith, and hooker Matt Downey, well-supported by locks Tim Barbarich and Codey Ellis, and there was little room to move.

Injuries and absences affected both teams. City were without Paddy Allen (knee sprain) and Chayse Skudder (back). Hikurangi’s George and Jesse Tuala were at a family event in Samoa.

Referee Harawira Matahiki showed at an early stage that he wasn’t putting up with ongoing debate about penalty calls, and was in a marching mood. At the 30-minute mark Hiku were penalised and started stating their case, and lost a valuable 10 metres. City enjoyed the penalty, but Tanetoa Parata finished making his point with Hiku’s first try, converted by Kareti Palmer.

Fox added a penalty to take City’s lead to 15-7.

Hiku went straight back at their opposition, flicking the ball out through the backs to Manuel, who scored out wide. Fabyan Kahaki missed the conversion, and City led 15-12 at the break.

At this stage, the tension could be cut with a knife, and both fan-bases were hoarse. That’s what you get with two strong teams, playing intelligent rugby. The nature of the defence was illustrated by the low scores.

Both teams were playing the game they wanted to, and the first 40 had seen some extremely good rugby. Running the line was Coast co-coach Wayne Ensor, and he was stoked with the game — he might have even added a few names to his list.

Former Coast rep Drummond Morice, Winiata Blane — scorer of Hiku’s winning try in the 2016 final — and hooker Moni Soutar came on in the second half for Hiku, and were joined by City replacements who included Lorne Boyce-Goldsmith, and the intensity continued.

City first-five Corey Walker’s forearm was broken late in the first half. One of City’s three coaches, Ian Logan, replaced Logan and took command of the City backs. Logan is a tactical player who seems to keep a plan of the field and its protagonists inside his head.

Logan's moves

Logan’s every move is delivered in a measured, tidy, professional way. Each pass meets the man, each of his strong kicks does exactly what he planned for it.

Most of the second half was like the first — skilled, multi-phased play often covering most of the field, and then a counter-attack right up to the other 22 — but the wind died right off.

An example was soon after the restart when City won a scrum. The ball got tangled in a ruck, so Matahiki called a Hiku scrum. After an apparent lack of binding, a City penalty failed to find touch and was scooped up by Hiku, who sent it to the backs and made ground, but fumbled a pass. A City scrum fed the ball to Logan whose long kick was taken by Tanetoa Parata. He was held and not allowed to release, and the Hiku penalty was followed by a Hiku scrum. Loose play culminated in a City penalty . . . you almost need a lie-down after that lot.

But Fox wasn’t resting — he drilled the penalty to make the score 18-12 to City.

Hiku responded quickly from the restart and gained a penalty 10 metres from the City line. Kareti Palmer ran over to score, Billy Manuel converted and Hiku were ahead, 19-18, with 25 minutes to go.

Tanetoa Parata seemed more contained in the second half. City general Logan ran hard to keep as close as he could to Parata’s second try, scored after a dash down the line. Words were exchanged in the far corner, Billy Manuel hit the upright and Hiku led 24-18.

Then it looked like Hiku were on a roll: Billy Manuel sprinted 60 metres or more, and ball met grass under the posts. But no, a City penalty was awarded instead, and no-backchat Matahiki inflicted more pain with a 10m march.

City were now 15 metres out from the line, and prop Pera Bishop went over for their third try, duly converted by Fox, and City were ahead 25-24.

With under 10 minutes to go, spectators were trying to work out who wanted to win most. The answer was easy — both did.

City then produced a bit of great rugby. Halfback Neihana Ratahi sprinted down the line and put in a low kick that stayed three metres inside the line, Bishop scooped the ball up a couple of metres out and flicked it to hooker Downey, who forced his way over. Again, Fox converted from out wide . . . 32-24.

But it wasn’t over. Tanetoa Parata had more to do. His third try closed the gap to 32-29. The conversion failed and the final whistle blew.

Ruatoria City 32 (Codey Ellis, Rob Andrews, Pera Bishop, Matt Downey tries; Nathaniel Fox 3 con, 2 pen) Hikurangi 29 (Tanetoa Parata 3, Billy Manuel, Kareti Palmer tries; Fabyan Kahaki, Billy Manuel con).

Waiapu at Tokomaru Bay

Waiapu coach Len Wawatai took his team to Tokomaru Bay on Saturday to take on the men he regards as United’s “hearty forwards and slick backs”.

The two clubs are well-matched, although United were missing a few — some were injured and several were attending a tangi. Waiapu seemed to have had most of their men. They have a more formidable squad this year with their big, skilled run-on men backed by the even bigger lot on the bench.

“My focus is trying to add some structure to Waiapu’s game and doing the basics right,” Wawatai said, and that could be the key to his team’s high place on the ladder this year.

Like City, Waiapu have a strong kicker in Slade Tiopira, who could add more than cream in future games. He converted four of his team’s five tries, and added two penalties.

United coach Dave Martin is hoping he will have all his men back next week for the local derby against Uawa, but it’s always useful to have Joe Chaffey saunter in from Bexhaven to add points.

Waiapu 39 (Tari Ao Tuhura-Stevenson 3, Perrin Manuel, Manu Papuni-Isles tries, Slade Tiopira 4 con, 2 pen) United 17 (Caanan Parata, Keely Hautapu, Joe Chaffey tries; Matt Marino con).

P W L D BP Pts

TVC 5 4 - 1 5 23

Ruatoria City 4 4 - 1 5 23

Hikurangi 4 4 - - 6 22

Waiapu 4 3 2 - 5 17

Uawa 5 2 3 - 4 12

Hicks Bay 5 2 3 - 4 12

Tokararangi 6 2 3 - 2 10

Toko Bay Utd 6 2 3 - 2 10

Tawhiti 4 - 4 - - 0

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.