HSOB toughing it out

True blue: HSOB co-captain Jody Tuhaka was the only player from the starting pack who won last year’s Lee Bros Shield final to start last Saturday’s premier club rugby game against Ngatapa. HSOB lost 44-3. Picture by Paul Rickard

Reigning champions High School Old Boys started the premier club rugby season with a 37-19 win against Tapuae only to be brought crashing back to earth when Larsawn Ngatapa thumped them 44-3 at the weekend.

The Earthwork Solutions HSOB side were lucky it wasn’t more, as the Green Machine squandered at least three tryscoring opportunities.

So what has happened to a team who are vying for a fourth consecutive Lee Bros Shield title.

Players, or to be more precise, missing players.

Due to work commitments, injuries and players having left the district, the squad coaches Jamie Hutana and Scott Leighton put out at the weekend was missing 12 from the 22 who beat Waikohu in last year’s final.

Apart from skipper and hooker Jody Tuhaka, HSOB were without the entire forward pack

While they are the shield holders in name, the class of 2018 are nothing like the 2017 squad.

Some of the injured players will return as the season progresses, including midfield back James Warren (hand injury). His experience and cool head will be invaluable to a young backline full of attacking flair but who need to come forward quicker on defence.

Too often the Ngatapa forwards and backs were allowed to run up to 20 metres before the defence came off the line.

The biggest boost for HSOB will be the return of the “Terminator” — Siosiua Moala — from Spain.

Moala, Poverty Bay’s Heartland Player of the Year for the past two seasons and a Heartland 15 squad member in 2017 and 2016, is expected back next month.

The powerhouse No.8 is on a one-season professional contract with the AMPO Ordizia club, who play in the top division of the Spanish competition — the Division de Honour.

“Siosiua is doing well in Spain but he should be back by the end of May,” said Poverty Bay Heartland assistant coach Dwayne Russell.

HSOB have the bye on Saturday, which will give those on the injured list another week to recover.

Meanwhile, all roads lead to Patutahi this weekend, with the in-form Ngatapa hosting GT Shearing Waikohu, who are under new coach Jason Tuapawa.

Waikohu started their campaign with a 55-14 win against Athletic in round 1 and had the bye last weekend. They will find Ngatapa much tougher opposition in what should be a cracker of a game.

Reigning champions High School Old Boys started the premier club rugby season with a 37-19 win against Tapuae only to be brought crashing back to earth when Larsawn Ngatapa thumped them 44-3 at the weekend.

The Earthwork Solutions HSOB side were lucky it wasn’t more, as the Green Machine squandered at least three tryscoring opportunities.

So what has happened to a team who are vying for a fourth consecutive Lee Bros Shield title.

Players, or to be more precise, missing players.

Due to work commitments, injuries and players having left the district, the squad coaches Jamie Hutana and Scott Leighton put out at the weekend was missing 12 from the 22 who beat Waikohu in last year’s final.

Apart from skipper and hooker Jody Tuhaka, HSOB were without the entire forward pack

While they are the shield holders in name, the class of 2018 are nothing like the 2017 squad.

Some of the injured players will return as the season progresses, including midfield back James Warren (hand injury). His experience and cool head will be invaluable to a young backline full of attacking flair but who need to come forward quicker on defence.

Too often the Ngatapa forwards and backs were allowed to run up to 20 metres before the defence came off the line.

The biggest boost for HSOB will be the return of the “Terminator” — Siosiua Moala — from Spain.

Moala, Poverty Bay’s Heartland Player of the Year for the past two seasons and a Heartland 15 squad member in 2017 and 2016, is expected back next month.

The powerhouse No.8 is on a one-season professional contract with the AMPO Ordizia club, who play in the top division of the Spanish competition — the Division de Honour.

“Siosiua is doing well in Spain but he should be back by the end of May,” said Poverty Bay Heartland assistant coach Dwayne Russell.

HSOB have the bye on Saturday, which will give those on the injured list another week to recover.

Meanwhile, all roads lead to Patutahi this weekend, with the in-form Ngatapa hosting GT Shearing Waikohu, who are under new coach Jason Tuapawa.

Waikohu started their campaign with a 55-14 win against Athletic in round 1 and had the bye last weekend. They will find Ngatapa much tougher opposition in what should be a cracker of a game.

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