Teams change places

Competition heating up on Coast

Competition heating up on Coast

Tackling low: Tokomaru Bay United’s Uzziah Parata goes low to tackle Uawa blindside flanker Daniel Knubley as United’s Seb Chambers-Raroa comes across to cover. Uawa co-coach Peter Crawford (in hood) watches intently from the sideline. Picture by Tania Hunter

Circumstances have changed. Week 7 in East Coast club rugby has seen movement up and down the eight-team table. Competition leaders Hikurangi (31 competition points) beat Tokararangi (23pts) 29-19 in Ruatoria, Hicks Bay (9pts) defaulted to Tihirau Victory Club (27), TVC’s maximum five points for that result elevating them to third position. Tokararangi dropped down to fourth spot. Second-placed Uawa (29) went up several gears in the second half of their 62-15 home win against Tokomaru Bay United (7) while Ruatoria City (13) beat Waiapu (5) 31-0 at Rangitukia. City’s win pushed Hicks Bay out of fifth spot and into sixth position, ahead of United and Waiapu.

Hikurangi at home outscored Tokararangi by four tries to three and led 17-7 at the break in the 1 v 3 clash.

First five-eightgh Te Aho Matua Morice played an enormous hand for the No.1 team with a try, three conversions and a penalty goal.

His teammates, halfback Neihana Ratahi-Brown, centre Trent Proffit and left wing Jesse Tuala also scored for “The Maunga”.

Lock Frank Henderson, starting No.8 Antony King and his replacement, Hone Haerewa, scored tries for Tokararangi. Haerewa and captain and second-five Israel Brown both kicked conversions for the visitors. Tighthead prop Chris Bristowe was their player of the day, Proffit claiming that honour for Hikurangi.

“First things first, referee Jimmy Green officiated a great game of rugby — the game flowed because of him,” said Tokararangi coach Morgan Wirepa junior, who was also impressed by Haerewa’s game-changing turn off the bench.

“We were unlucky not to put more points up early on, when we’d attacked Hikurangi’s goal-line, only to then let them score twice. For us, it was catch-up from that point.”

Hikurangi captain and hooker Ngarimu Parata acknowledged strong pick-and-go play from the visitors allied to the direct approach of Haerewa and Henderson: “It was a true, good, hard Hiku-Toka clash. We defended really well; we had to.”

Both teams played with excellent discipline — no cards being awarded by referee Green — despite the game’s physical nature.

“We’re proud of our match-effort,” Israel Brown said.

“(Lock) Eru Bristowe did some great work at the lineout for us. Our forwards were solid and tidy all-round. If there’s anything that we’ll look to develop further this week, it might just be a little bit more communication between players.”

Hikurangi coach Doone Harrison said: “We’ve achieved one of our season goals, which was to win the first round but I’m super-impressed with Tokararangi: they’ve got good leaders in Israel Brown and Hone Haerewa, and also great mentors in Morgan Wirepa Jnr and Morgan Waitoa.

“For us, George Tuala, Ngarimu and Tahu Walker continue to improve as a front row, while youngsters like Te Aho and (fullback) Fabyan Kahaki play with great enthusiasm. As to the result on Saturday, in the end it was probably just a couple of missed chances from Toka that kept us in front.”

From humble beginnings, Ruatoria City are finding their feet

City scored five tries for 31-0 against Waiapu in the 6 v 8 meeting at George Nepia Memorial Park. City player of the day was first-five Mikaere Murray, 17. He cut the line for his club’s opening try three weeks into the first round, and on Saturday he scored a double.

Tighthead prop Pera Bishop, lock Hayden Rutene and left wing Nehe Grace also scored tries, while centre Nathaniel Fox kicked three conversions. City led 12-0 at the break.

Waiapu’s Rory Waitoa was the home team’s player of the day. His assurance and skill under the high ball, and ability to return the compliment with towering punts, was a feature of the game. He (at fullback), Tai Rua (left wing) and Tripoli Poi (second-five) are all forwards, but circumstances demanded that they play in the backs. And while that type of configuration is never ideal at any level, Waiapu were still in the game at least in part due to those players’ willingness to do what the team required.

“We had our chances but City were very good at turning ball over,” Waiapu coach Kahu Waitoa said.

“Our lock Ihaka Hayes won a lot of lineout ball, took the ball to them on the charge and was committed on the tackle. Rory, Tai and Trip aren’t just forwards, either: they’re three of our best forwards.”

Coach Lisa Muller paid tribute to the men who made victory possible — hooker John Brown, who made every tackle count, big lock Foli Waru, who carried the ball like a tank, and reserve forwards Jack Richards (blindside flanker) and lock-cum-No.8 Peter Waitoa for their toughness off the bench.

When City captain No.8 Tim Barbarich left the field of play with an injury to his right knee in the 55th minute, second-five Corey Walker stepped into the breach as skipper.

Waiapu fought to score until the final whistle. Reserve Gene Rangihuna received a yellow card in the second half and 10 minutes before the curtain came down, City replacement Boss Blackbee — the third player used by the visitors at loosehead prop — also went to the sin-bin.

“It was sunny, it was windy and it was a hard game,” Muller said.

“We certainly expect next weekend’s game against Hikurangi at Whakarua Park to take its toll, which is the reason that on Saturday, Eru White and Lionel Stone — both loosehead props, both carrying injuries — were out there for only 30 to 40 minutes. That’s why I feel for Pera (Bishop): we can’t do without him, and so he has to play the full 80 every game.”

Despite the temptation and no doubt his keenness to play Waiapu, regular Ruatoria City captain No.8 Paddy Allen did not take the field against them. Allen is recovering from an injury to his right arm and although he is a great competitor who would not save himself, the decision to rest him for the additional week may prove to be a wise one. City defaulted to Hikurangi in the first round, and will no doubt want to prove to “The Maunga” that they are building their club up tackle by tackle, phase by phase. Allen’s presence this Saturday will give the underdogs a massive boost in confidence.

If only some games finished at halftime

It would be perfectly understandable if Tokomaru Bay United felt that way: they put up a sensational first 40 minutes against Uawa in 7 v 2 at Hatea-a-Rangi, trailing the visitors 19-15 at the break.

United player-coach and lock Mike Tiopira knows that his team — and in particular, his forwards — comported themselves heroically.

“We matched them up front — they beat us out wide,” he said.

“All the boys were tackling — we just ran out of numbers.”

United captain and player of the day loosehead prop Adam Williams and fearsome No.8 Shagan Tomoana scored tries for the home team, with classy second-five Sebastian Chambers-Raroa kicking one penalty and a conversion.

Williams shared his coach’s sentiments: “We did well considering the size of their forwards, but it was hard going. They are big.”

United centre Canaan Parata showed real steel in defence, although he did also collect a yellow card in the first half. Uawa second-five Rik Crawford, too, collected a yellow card, his being issued by referee Whiti Timutimu in the second half.

Uawa first-five Jordan Birch scored twice and left wing Jahnika Timmins scored once.

There were superb performances off the substitutes bench: reserve right wing-cum-openside flanker Niao Savage — who turned 18 today — came on at halftime and scored two tries as a back-row forward. He scored his first try of the season against Hicks Bay and is a young player of immense promise.

Vllayne Whakataka took Savage’s right-wing berth and scored a try, with replacement halfback Oscar Canseca Munoz scoring twice with fullback BJ Sidney kicking five conversions and a penalty. Canseca Munoz kicked two conversions, while Birch and right wing Tipene Meihana kicked one conversion apiece.

“United showed a lot of passion and they really made us work for the win,” Uawa captain and lock Scott Lasenby said.

“Adam (Williams) carried the ball strongly for them, and so did Adrian Allen for us: he started at openside flanker and moved to No.8. Adrian cleaned out at the ruck and his support play at the breakdown was excellent.”

Lasenby added: “Whiti Timutimu controlled the game well — she gave clear instructions and played good advantage.”

This Saturday’s 2.30pm games pit Hikurangi against Ruatoria City at Whakarua Park and Tihirau Victory Club against Tokararangi at Whangaparaoa, while Tokomaru Bay United will host Hicks Bay at Hatea-a-Rangi and Waiapu play Uawa at Rangitukia.

Circumstances have changed. Week 7 in East Coast club rugby has seen movement up and down the eight-team table. Competition leaders Hikurangi (31 competition points) beat Tokararangi (23pts) 29-19 in Ruatoria, Hicks Bay (9pts) defaulted to Tihirau Victory Club (27), TVC’s maximum five points for that result elevating them to third position. Tokararangi dropped down to fourth spot. Second-placed Uawa (29) went up several gears in the second half of their 62-15 home win against Tokomaru Bay United (7) while Ruatoria City (13) beat Waiapu (5) 31-0 at Rangitukia. City’s win pushed Hicks Bay out of fifth spot and into sixth position, ahead of United and Waiapu.

Hikurangi at home outscored Tokararangi by four tries to three and led 17-7 at the break in the 1 v 3 clash.

First five-eightgh Te Aho Matua Morice played an enormous hand for the No.1 team with a try, three conversions and a penalty goal.

His teammates, halfback Neihana Ratahi-Brown, centre Trent Proffit and left wing Jesse Tuala also scored for “The Maunga”.

Lock Frank Henderson, starting No.8 Antony King and his replacement, Hone Haerewa, scored tries for Tokararangi. Haerewa and captain and second-five Israel Brown both kicked conversions for the visitors. Tighthead prop Chris Bristowe was their player of the day, Proffit claiming that honour for Hikurangi.

“First things first, referee Jimmy Green officiated a great game of rugby — the game flowed because of him,” said Tokararangi coach Morgan Wirepa junior, who was also impressed by Haerewa’s game-changing turn off the bench.

“We were unlucky not to put more points up early on, when we’d attacked Hikurangi’s goal-line, only to then let them score twice. For us, it was catch-up from that point.”

Hikurangi captain and hooker Ngarimu Parata acknowledged strong pick-and-go play from the visitors allied to the direct approach of Haerewa and Henderson: “It was a true, good, hard Hiku-Toka clash. We defended really well; we had to.”

Both teams played with excellent discipline — no cards being awarded by referee Green — despite the game’s physical nature.

“We’re proud of our match-effort,” Israel Brown said.

“(Lock) Eru Bristowe did some great work at the lineout for us. Our forwards were solid and tidy all-round. If there’s anything that we’ll look to develop further this week, it might just be a little bit more communication between players.”

Hikurangi coach Doone Harrison said: “We’ve achieved one of our season goals, which was to win the first round but I’m super-impressed with Tokararangi: they’ve got good leaders in Israel Brown and Hone Haerewa, and also great mentors in Morgan Wirepa Jnr and Morgan Waitoa.

“For us, George Tuala, Ngarimu and Tahu Walker continue to improve as a front row, while youngsters like Te Aho and (fullback) Fabyan Kahaki play with great enthusiasm. As to the result on Saturday, in the end it was probably just a couple of missed chances from Toka that kept us in front.”

From humble beginnings, Ruatoria City are finding their feet

City scored five tries for 31-0 against Waiapu in the 6 v 8 meeting at George Nepia Memorial Park. City player of the day was first-five Mikaere Murray, 17. He cut the line for his club’s opening try three weeks into the first round, and on Saturday he scored a double.

Tighthead prop Pera Bishop, lock Hayden Rutene and left wing Nehe Grace also scored tries, while centre Nathaniel Fox kicked three conversions. City led 12-0 at the break.

Waiapu’s Rory Waitoa was the home team’s player of the day. His assurance and skill under the high ball, and ability to return the compliment with towering punts, was a feature of the game. He (at fullback), Tai Rua (left wing) and Tripoli Poi (second-five) are all forwards, but circumstances demanded that they play in the backs. And while that type of configuration is never ideal at any level, Waiapu were still in the game at least in part due to those players’ willingness to do what the team required.

“We had our chances but City were very good at turning ball over,” Waiapu coach Kahu Waitoa said.

“Our lock Ihaka Hayes won a lot of lineout ball, took the ball to them on the charge and was committed on the tackle. Rory, Tai and Trip aren’t just forwards, either: they’re three of our best forwards.”

Coach Lisa Muller paid tribute to the men who made victory possible — hooker John Brown, who made every tackle count, big lock Foli Waru, who carried the ball like a tank, and reserve forwards Jack Richards (blindside flanker) and lock-cum-No.8 Peter Waitoa for their toughness off the bench.

When City captain No.8 Tim Barbarich left the field of play with an injury to his right knee in the 55th minute, second-five Corey Walker stepped into the breach as skipper.

Waiapu fought to score until the final whistle. Reserve Gene Rangihuna received a yellow card in the second half and 10 minutes before the curtain came down, City replacement Boss Blackbee — the third player used by the visitors at loosehead prop — also went to the sin-bin.

“It was sunny, it was windy and it was a hard game,” Muller said.

“We certainly expect next weekend’s game against Hikurangi at Whakarua Park to take its toll, which is the reason that on Saturday, Eru White and Lionel Stone — both loosehead props, both carrying injuries — were out there for only 30 to 40 minutes. That’s why I feel for Pera (Bishop): we can’t do without him, and so he has to play the full 80 every game.”

Despite the temptation and no doubt his keenness to play Waiapu, regular Ruatoria City captain No.8 Paddy Allen did not take the field against them. Allen is recovering from an injury to his right arm and although he is a great competitor who would not save himself, the decision to rest him for the additional week may prove to be a wise one. City defaulted to Hikurangi in the first round, and will no doubt want to prove to “The Maunga” that they are building their club up tackle by tackle, phase by phase. Allen’s presence this Saturday will give the underdogs a massive boost in confidence.

If only some games finished at halftime

It would be perfectly understandable if Tokomaru Bay United felt that way: they put up a sensational first 40 minutes against Uawa in 7 v 2 at Hatea-a-Rangi, trailing the visitors 19-15 at the break.

United player-coach and lock Mike Tiopira knows that his team — and in particular, his forwards — comported themselves heroically.

“We matched them up front — they beat us out wide,” he said.

“All the boys were tackling — we just ran out of numbers.”

United captain and player of the day loosehead prop Adam Williams and fearsome No.8 Shagan Tomoana scored tries for the home team, with classy second-five Sebastian Chambers-Raroa kicking one penalty and a conversion.

Williams shared his coach’s sentiments: “We did well considering the size of their forwards, but it was hard going. They are big.”

United centre Canaan Parata showed real steel in defence, although he did also collect a yellow card in the first half. Uawa second-five Rik Crawford, too, collected a yellow card, his being issued by referee Whiti Timutimu in the second half.

Uawa first-five Jordan Birch scored twice and left wing Jahnika Timmins scored once.

There were superb performances off the substitutes bench: reserve right wing-cum-openside flanker Niao Savage — who turned 18 today — came on at halftime and scored two tries as a back-row forward. He scored his first try of the season against Hicks Bay and is a young player of immense promise.

Vllayne Whakataka took Savage’s right-wing berth and scored a try, with replacement halfback Oscar Canseca Munoz scoring twice with fullback BJ Sidney kicking five conversions and a penalty. Canseca Munoz kicked two conversions, while Birch and right wing Tipene Meihana kicked one conversion apiece.

“United showed a lot of passion and they really made us work for the win,” Uawa captain and lock Scott Lasenby said.

“Adam (Williams) carried the ball strongly for them, and so did Adrian Allen for us: he started at openside flanker and moved to No.8. Adrian cleaned out at the ruck and his support play at the breakdown was excellent.”

Lasenby added: “Whiti Timutimu controlled the game well — she gave clear instructions and played good advantage.”

This Saturday’s 2.30pm games pit Hikurangi against Ruatoria City at Whakarua Park and Tihirau Victory Club against Tokararangi at Whangaparaoa, while Tokomaru Bay United will host Hicks Bay at Hatea-a-Rangi and Waiapu play Uawa at Rangitukia.

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