North Otago a tough nut to crack

BEATING North Otago in Oamaru in the penultimate round of the Heartland Championship, before the playoffs, was always going to be a big ask of the Ngati Porou East Coast rugby team.

Losing four key players — flankers Paddy Allen and Hone Haerewa, prop Pera Bishop and lock Manaia Nyman — made the task even more difficult and the South Islanders moved into fourth spot with a 57-14 win.

Coast co-coach Troy Para said the four who had to pull out due to a tangi, work commitments and an injury in training felt terrible.

“But we’re hoping they will all be available for our last game of the season, against South Canterbury in Ruatoria on Saturday,” Para said.

“I’ve just watched a video of the South Canterbury-Wairarapa Bush game and even though South Canterbury won (29-20), we’ll be doing our best to upset the applecart and give the supporters something to cheer about.”

Para said the two tries his side scored against North Otago were “beauties”.

“Epeli Lotawa caught the ball in midfield from a restart and set up a ruck. We had some good pick-and-goes before Sailosi Vatubua put through a lovely grubber kick for Epeli to run on to, and he scored between the posts.”

Fullback Kris Palmer converted.

“Our second try was another great effort,” Para said.

“We were awarded a penalty and used a move from my YMP days when we set up a wall before Te Peehi (Fairlie) received the ball out wide.

“He had to run about 25 metres and burst through three tacklers to score.

“We could have scored three more tries. One was disallowed when the ref ruled a double-movement after Laman Davies looked to have scored. The other two missed opportunities were down to not being as clinical as we should have been.

“North Otago deserved to win but, all things considered — the disruptions to the team, and the long trip down — we have to be pleased with the effort from all the guys.

“In the forwards, Rhys Walker (lock), Laman Davies (prop), Perrin Manuel (hooker) and flankers Richard Green and Kareti Palmer played well.

“Verdon Bartlett (first five-eighth) and Te Peehi Fairlie (second-five) were the pick of the backs.”

South Canterbury will be looking to seal top spot and a home semifinal and possible home final when they play the Coast at Whakarua Park on Saturday.

Horowhenua Kapiti beat Wanganui 15-8 in Levin to stay second, one point in front of Buller, who beat Mid Canterbury 40-32. Buller host Horowhenua Kapiti in Westport on Saturday.

Round 7 results: Poverty Bay 43 King Country 29, Mid Canterbury 32 Buller 40, West Coast 24 Thames Valley 17, Horowhenua Kapiti 15 Wanganui 8, South Canterbury 29 Wairarapa Bush 20.

BEATING North Otago in Oamaru in the penultimate round of the Heartland Championship, before the playoffs, was always going to be a big ask of the Ngati Porou East Coast rugby team.

Losing four key players — flankers Paddy Allen and Hone Haerewa, prop Pera Bishop and lock Manaia Nyman — made the task even more difficult and the South Islanders moved into fourth spot with a 57-14 win.

Coast co-coach Troy Para said the four who had to pull out due to a tangi, work commitments and an injury in training felt terrible.

“But we’re hoping they will all be available for our last game of the season, against South Canterbury in Ruatoria on Saturday,” Para said.

“I’ve just watched a video of the South Canterbury-Wairarapa Bush game and even though South Canterbury won (29-20), we’ll be doing our best to upset the applecart and give the supporters something to cheer about.”

Para said the two tries his side scored against North Otago were “beauties”.

“Epeli Lotawa caught the ball in midfield from a restart and set up a ruck. We had some good pick-and-goes before Sailosi Vatubua put through a lovely grubber kick for Epeli to run on to, and he scored between the posts.”

Fullback Kris Palmer converted.

“Our second try was another great effort,” Para said.

“We were awarded a penalty and used a move from my YMP days when we set up a wall before Te Peehi (Fairlie) received the ball out wide.

“He had to run about 25 metres and burst through three tacklers to score.

“We could have scored three more tries. One was disallowed when the ref ruled a double-movement after Laman Davies looked to have scored. The other two missed opportunities were down to not being as clinical as we should have been.

“North Otago deserved to win but, all things considered — the disruptions to the team, and the long trip down — we have to be pleased with the effort from all the guys.

“In the forwards, Rhys Walker (lock), Laman Davies (prop), Perrin Manuel (hooker) and flankers Richard Green and Kareti Palmer played well.

“Verdon Bartlett (first five-eighth) and Te Peehi Fairlie (second-five) were the pick of the backs.”

South Canterbury will be looking to seal top spot and a home semifinal and possible home final when they play the Coast at Whakarua Park on Saturday.

Horowhenua Kapiti beat Wanganui 15-8 in Levin to stay second, one point in front of Buller, who beat Mid Canterbury 40-32. Buller host Horowhenua Kapiti in Westport on Saturday.

Round 7 results: Poverty Bay 43 King Country 29, Mid Canterbury 32 Buller 40, West Coast 24 Thames Valley 17, Horowhenua Kapiti 15 Wanganui 8, South Canterbury 29 Wairarapa Bush 20.

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