Last-minute try denies Athletic historic victory

Wairoa Athletic No.8 Dave Gallagher scores in the tackle of High School Old Boys winger Andrew Tauatevalu. HSOB fought back from being 14-0 down to win 17-14. Picture by Paul Rickard

Stefan Destounis was the toast of a High School Old Boys side who beat Wairoa Athletic 17-14 in a premier rugby game at the Oval on Saturday.

Playing in his first game of the season, Destounis scored a try in the final play of the game to deny Charteris Choppers Athletic a historic first win against Earthwork Solutions HSOB.

After defaulting their game against Waikohu last week due to a shortage of front-row players and struggling with injuries, HSOB coach Jamie Hutana welcomed back Blanco Maka, Tamanui Hill, Destounis, Jared Phelps, Corey Reihana and Zane Boyle to the squad.

But it was Athletic, buoyed by their first win of the season last week, who led 14-5 at halftime.

Centre Sitiveni Nasove and No.8 Dave Gallagher, dotted down. Captain and first five-eighth Kurt Taylor converted both tries.

Gallagher and another seasoned campaigner Brendon Bishop (lock) revelled in the wet conditions and their younger teammates rose to the challenge.

HSOB No.8 Kupu Lloyd reduced the gap on the stroke of halftime with an unconverted try.

“Athletic took it to us big time and if they keep playing like they did today it won’t be long till they roll some teams,” Hutana said.

“It wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that we started getting some possession and held on to the ball.”

Phelps marked his return to premier action with a try, converted by first five-eighth Corey Reihana, leaving Destounis to complete the comeback.

Boyle, normally a back, wore the No.6 jersey and earned praise from Hutana.

“It was his first game at six and he did everything we asked of him. Jody Tuhaka (hooker and captain) has been our go-to man all season. Jody led from the front.

“Andrew Tauatevalu (winger) was always dangerous on attack.”

While happy to get back on the winning trail, Hutana said the victory came at a cost.

Utility back and one of the team’s most consistent players, George Halley, tore a hamstring while chasing a kick in the first 10 minutes.

Athletic coach Jimmy Whaitiri and his players were disappointed as they sat in the changing rooms but far from down and out.

“We’re sorry to lose it but this was another step up for us,” Whaitiri said.

“We’re getting more numbers to training and we’re improving as individuals and as a team.

“We’re winning our own ball at set pieces and if you do that in rugby, more often than not you’ll win.

“We’ve got a tough game next up against Waikohu but I can’t fault the spirit in this team. I’m proud of how far they’ve come this season, especially considering the short preparation time we had before the start of the season.”

Nasove picked up the three points for most valuable player (MVP), followed by Kapene (2) and prop Damen Taukamo-Huata (1)

Others to play well were Nathan Sokia and Zion Ripia.

HSOB 17 (K Lloyd, J Phelps, S Destounis tries; C Reihana con).

ATHLETIC 14 (S Nasove, D Gallagher tries; K Taylor 2 con).

HT: 14-5 (Athletic).

Ngatapa prop Semisi Akana continues to put his hand up for a place in the Poverty Bay team to play Ngati Porou East Coast on Queen’s Birthday Weekend with three tries and a man-of-the-match performance in Larsawn Ngatapa’s 54-0 win against Tapuae at Patutahi on Saturday.

Roseland Tavern Tapuae were competitive for the first 20 minutes but the Ngatapa forwards, inspired by Akana, took charge and scored nine tries to lead 49-0 at the break.

“After 20 minutes we couldn’t get our hands on the ball and fell off tackles,” said Tapuae captain Wayne Hema.

“Frank (coach Frank King) got stuck into us at halftime and we played a lot better.

“Clint Taumata made his comeback from injury off the bench at No.7 and made a big impact.”

Te Kapua Riwi, Jeke Fatafehi and Joseph Te Kapua Hati also made massive contributions in the last 40.

McDonald said his side were forced to make changes due to injuries, “which didn’t help retain our structure”.

“The worst affected is Jacob Samuel (openside). He came off with a cut around the eye, then went back on and had to come off with a head knock, which could see him out for a few weeks.

“Campbell Chrisp dislocated a knuckle joint, which looked pretty bad, but he could be OK for this week.”

Ihaia Kerr (hooker) made his return from a hamstring injury but left the field late in the first half “after feeling a twinge but not before scoring a try”.

“It was a wise decision to come off as we had the game won by then and it was better not to aggravate it,” McDonald said.

“Scott Brodie (lock) was another who had to come off but that gave Johnny Ingram the chance to play his 50th game for the prems. Sione Ngatu (player-coach) also got some time on the pitch.

NGATAPA 54 (S Akana 3, M Raleigh, I Kerr, K Macpherson, P Livingston, J Jones, L Kerr, L Crudis tries; L Crudis, M Raleigh, con).

TAPUAE 0. HT: 49-0.

Stefan Destounis was the toast of a High School Old Boys side who beat Wairoa Athletic 17-14 in a premier rugby game at the Oval on Saturday.

Playing in his first game of the season, Destounis scored a try in the final play of the game to deny Charteris Choppers Athletic a historic first win against Earthwork Solutions HSOB.

After defaulting their game against Waikohu last week due to a shortage of front-row players and struggling with injuries, HSOB coach Jamie Hutana welcomed back Blanco Maka, Tamanui Hill, Destounis, Jared Phelps, Corey Reihana and Zane Boyle to the squad.

But it was Athletic, buoyed by their first win of the season last week, who led 14-5 at halftime.

Centre Sitiveni Nasove and No.8 Dave Gallagher, dotted down. Captain and first five-eighth Kurt Taylor converted both tries.

Gallagher and another seasoned campaigner Brendon Bishop (lock) revelled in the wet conditions and their younger teammates rose to the challenge.

HSOB No.8 Kupu Lloyd reduced the gap on the stroke of halftime with an unconverted try.

“Athletic took it to us big time and if they keep playing like they did today it won’t be long till they roll some teams,” Hutana said.

“It wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that we started getting some possession and held on to the ball.”

Phelps marked his return to premier action with a try, converted by first five-eighth Corey Reihana, leaving Destounis to complete the comeback.

Boyle, normally a back, wore the No.6 jersey and earned praise from Hutana.

“It was his first game at six and he did everything we asked of him. Jody Tuhaka (hooker and captain) has been our go-to man all season. Jody led from the front.

“Andrew Tauatevalu (winger) was always dangerous on attack.”

While happy to get back on the winning trail, Hutana said the victory came at a cost.

Utility back and one of the team’s most consistent players, George Halley, tore a hamstring while chasing a kick in the first 10 minutes.

Athletic coach Jimmy Whaitiri and his players were disappointed as they sat in the changing rooms but far from down and out.

“We’re sorry to lose it but this was another step up for us,” Whaitiri said.

“We’re getting more numbers to training and we’re improving as individuals and as a team.

“We’re winning our own ball at set pieces and if you do that in rugby, more often than not you’ll win.

“We’ve got a tough game next up against Waikohu but I can’t fault the spirit in this team. I’m proud of how far they’ve come this season, especially considering the short preparation time we had before the start of the season.”

Nasove picked up the three points for most valuable player (MVP), followed by Kapene (2) and prop Damen Taukamo-Huata (1)

Others to play well were Nathan Sokia and Zion Ripia.

HSOB 17 (K Lloyd, J Phelps, S Destounis tries; C Reihana con).

ATHLETIC 14 (S Nasove, D Gallagher tries; K Taylor 2 con).

HT: 14-5 (Athletic).

Ngatapa prop Semisi Akana continues to put his hand up for a place in the Poverty Bay team to play Ngati Porou East Coast on Queen’s Birthday Weekend with three tries and a man-of-the-match performance in Larsawn Ngatapa’s 54-0 win against Tapuae at Patutahi on Saturday.

Roseland Tavern Tapuae were competitive for the first 20 minutes but the Ngatapa forwards, inspired by Akana, took charge and scored nine tries to lead 49-0 at the break.

“After 20 minutes we couldn’t get our hands on the ball and fell off tackles,” said Tapuae captain Wayne Hema.

“Frank (coach Frank King) got stuck into us at halftime and we played a lot better.

“Clint Taumata made his comeback from injury off the bench at No.7 and made a big impact.”

Te Kapua Riwi, Jeke Fatafehi and Joseph Te Kapua Hati also made massive contributions in the last 40.

McDonald said his side were forced to make changes due to injuries, “which didn’t help retain our structure”.

“The worst affected is Jacob Samuel (openside). He came off with a cut around the eye, then went back on and had to come off with a head knock, which could see him out for a few weeks.

“Campbell Chrisp dislocated a knuckle joint, which looked pretty bad, but he could be OK for this week.”

Ihaia Kerr (hooker) made his return from a hamstring injury but left the field late in the first half “after feeling a twinge but not before scoring a try”.

“It was a wise decision to come off as we had the game won by then and it was better not to aggravate it,” McDonald said.

“Scott Brodie (lock) was another who had to come off but that gave Johnny Ingram the chance to play his 50th game for the prems. Sione Ngatu (player-coach) also got some time on the pitch.

NGATAPA 54 (S Akana 3, M Raleigh, I Kerr, K Macpherson, P Livingston, J Jones, L Kerr, L Crudis tries; L Crudis, M Raleigh, con).

TAPUAE 0. HT: 49-0.

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