Bay to face Weepu-boosted Bush in Memorial clash

FROM THE BLACKS TO THE BUSH: Piri Weepu in action at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Weepu is playing for Wairarapa Bush in this year’s Heartland Championship and is set to make his debut in the Jeremy David Memorial trophy game against Poverty Bay here tomorrow. The match kicks off at 2.30pm, following a 12.30 curtain-raiser between Campion College and East Coast under-18s. NZ Herald picture
Turkey's Ramil Guliyev crosses the line to win gold in the men's 200-meter final during the World Athletics Championships in London Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
United States' Sam Kendricks celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's pole vault final during the World Athletics Championships in London Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Britain's Mo Farah celebrates with his son Hussein Mo after winning the gold medal in the Men's 10,000m final during the World Athletics Championships in London Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Czech Republic's Barbora Spotakova celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's javelin final during the World Athletics Championships in London Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Poverty Bay square off against a Piri Weepu-led Wairarapa Bush at Rugby Park tomorrow, with the Jeremy David Memorial trophy at stake — a trophy that has eluded the Bay for seven years.

Bay coaches Mana Otai and Dwayne Russell believe this could be the year that drought is broken.

But they will have to do it against a side featuring 2011 Rugby World Cup-winning All Black halfback Weepu — a huge signing for the Bush for this year’s Heartland Championship.

The Bay last hoisted the coveted pre-season trophy in 2010 with a 62-6 win in a Heartland Championship game in Gisborne.

The Bush won it back the next year — 14-13 in Gisborne — and it has remained with them since including a 26-14 win in Masterton last year.

David was a former High School Old Boys midfield back who played representative rugby for the Bay and the Bush. He died in a tragic accident in Wellington in 1998 at just 20 years of age.

Otai and Russell said they were pleased with the development the Bay squad had shown in recent weeks.

“They are definitely better than the last time the public saw them at Queen’s Birthday Weekend against Ngati Porou East Coast,” Otai said.

The Bay scored a good win over the Coast that day.

“What is really important this weekend is to use this game as a hit-out to fine-tune our 22-man squad for the Heartland campaign,” said Otai.

“We have trained a lot but we have not had a serious test, and Dwayne and I know the Bush will provide that tomorrow.”

Russell said the match was an opportunity for some players to press their case for a spot in the Heartland 22.

The squad had done everything they could in training and in their match against the Wairoa sub-union selection last Saturday, he said.

“We are quite happy with the phase play the boys have taken on board.

“There is still some gelling to do but we have set clear individual and team expectations and goals, and the boys have responded very well to that.”

“We have lost some experience from last season but we have gained some further experience, too.

“The boys are tough, uncompromising and fit, and their micro-skills are coming on. It’s time for them to show their mettle.”

Otai said while he was happy with the effort against the Wairoa team, “you always want to go one better every week.”

“We expect to see continued improvement on last weekend in Mahia.

“We focused on our camp but it was a game we needed to get some match fitness, and it was a useful and competitive game for us.

“What’s important is the big picture.There are guys in the team who have not played at Heartland level and the idea is to for them to get some experience at that level tomorrow.

“Hopefully that will have everyone in the squad as well prepared as possible for when we play Mid Canterbury (Heartland Championship opener) in a fortnight.

“The Hawke’s Bay Saracens (pre-season) game the following Saturday will add to that experience.”

Russell said the Bush and the Bay were in a similar situation.

“We both have new coaches,” said Otai.

“They bring a mauling game and are quite mobile, like us, and they have some experience in key position like Sam Monaghan — their first five. He is their Beauden Barrett.

“Obviously Piri Weepu will be a key figure for them in his debut game for the Bush. He will direct traffic very well and I suspect he might have been involved in their training, so he will have brought a real professional attitude.

“As for the Bay, I think the fans will see the boys express themselves the way they know best and put their hands up for the Heartland championship.

“We are expecting a tough game tomorrow and the boys are looking forward to it.”

Otai said the memory of Jeremy David added a dimension to the fixture.

“I am sure players from both teams will have him in their minds tomorrow.”

Poverty Bay square off against a Piri Weepu-led Wairarapa Bush at Rugby Park tomorrow, with the Jeremy David Memorial trophy at stake — a trophy that has eluded the Bay for seven years.

Bay coaches Mana Otai and Dwayne Russell believe this could be the year that drought is broken.

But they will have to do it against a side featuring 2011 Rugby World Cup-winning All Black halfback Weepu — a huge signing for the Bush for this year’s Heartland Championship.

The Bay last hoisted the coveted pre-season trophy in 2010 with a 62-6 win in a Heartland Championship game in Gisborne.

The Bush won it back the next year — 14-13 in Gisborne — and it has remained with them since including a 26-14 win in Masterton last year.

David was a former High School Old Boys midfield back who played representative rugby for the Bay and the Bush. He died in a tragic accident in Wellington in 1998 at just 20 years of age.

Otai and Russell said they were pleased with the development the Bay squad had shown in recent weeks.

“They are definitely better than the last time the public saw them at Queen’s Birthday Weekend against Ngati Porou East Coast,” Otai said.

The Bay scored a good win over the Coast that day.

“What is really important this weekend is to use this game as a hit-out to fine-tune our 22-man squad for the Heartland campaign,” said Otai.

“We have trained a lot but we have not had a serious test, and Dwayne and I know the Bush will provide that tomorrow.”

Russell said the match was an opportunity for some players to press their case for a spot in the Heartland 22.

The squad had done everything they could in training and in their match against the Wairoa sub-union selection last Saturday, he said.

“We are quite happy with the phase play the boys have taken on board.

“There is still some gelling to do but we have set clear individual and team expectations and goals, and the boys have responded very well to that.”

“We have lost some experience from last season but we have gained some further experience, too.

“The boys are tough, uncompromising and fit, and their micro-skills are coming on. It’s time for them to show their mettle.”

Otai said while he was happy with the effort against the Wairoa team, “you always want to go one better every week.”

“We expect to see continued improvement on last weekend in Mahia.

“We focused on our camp but it was a game we needed to get some match fitness, and it was a useful and competitive game for us.

“What’s important is the big picture.There are guys in the team who have not played at Heartland level and the idea is to for them to get some experience at that level tomorrow.

“Hopefully that will have everyone in the squad as well prepared as possible for when we play Mid Canterbury (Heartland Championship opener) in a fortnight.

“The Hawke’s Bay Saracens (pre-season) game the following Saturday will add to that experience.”

Russell said the Bush and the Bay were in a similar situation.

“We both have new coaches,” said Otai.

“They bring a mauling game and are quite mobile, like us, and they have some experience in key position like Sam Monaghan — their first five. He is their Beauden Barrett.

“Obviously Piri Weepu will be a key figure for them in his debut game for the Bush. He will direct traffic very well and I suspect he might have been involved in their training, so he will have brought a real professional attitude.

“As for the Bay, I think the fans will see the boys express themselves the way they know best and put their hands up for the Heartland championship.

“We are expecting a tough game tomorrow and the boys are looking forward to it.”

Otai said the memory of Jeremy David added a dimension to the fixture.

“I am sure players from both teams will have him in their minds tomorrow.”

Poverty Bay: 1. Tamanui Hill; 2. Matekairoa McGuire; 3. Sione Ngatu; 4. Jacob Cook; 5. Willis Tamatea; 6. Leslie Hills; 7. James Grogan (capt); 8. Siosiua Moala; 9. Willy Grogan; 10 Jake Holmes; 11. George Halley; 12. Anthony Karauria; 13. Tawhao Stewart; 14. Karl Macpherson; 15. Isaia Vuki.

Reserves: 16. Juston Allen; 17 Semisi Akana; 18. Ricky Waitoa; 19. Meke Brown; 20. Mario Counsell; 21. Kelvin Smith; 22. Pamona Samupo/Andrew Tauatevalu.

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

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Should consultation on Gisborne city wastewater treatment and disposal include a “do nothing” option as suggested by the Mayor on Thursday, as well as the five options priced at estimated capital costs of $23.5 million to $42.1m which were approved by councillors?