Waikohu amping for action

Coach lays down challenge to his players.

Coach lays down challenge to his players.

HOLD ON TIGHT: Waikohu lock Te Miini Kohere-Smiler hangs on to Ngatapa player-coach Sione Ngatu as Waikohu fullback Ethine Reeves lines the big man up. Waikohu host Ngatu’s Green Machine at Te Karaka tomorrow. Picture by Paul Rickard

Waikohu coach Jason Tuapawa has thrown down the gauntlet to his players ahead of their premier club rugby match against Ngatapa at Te Karaka tomorrow.

Unbeaten after seven games and assured of a spot in the top-four playoffs, Tuapawa wants his players to “show me they deserve a starting place when the semis come around”.

“We’ve had three weeks without a game, apart from the guys who played for the Bay against the Coast, and the boys can’t wait to get on the paddock again,” said Tuapawa, who is in his first season as GT Shearing Waikohu premier coach.

“We’ve been training but there’s nothing like playing.

“The break has given players like Geoff (Pari, hooker and captain) and Lynden Manuel (openside flanker) time to get over their injuries. Geoff will start tomorrow but we’ll ease Lynden into action from off the bench.”

Manuel’s return gives Tuapawa a selection dilemma when it comes to the No.6 and No.7 jerseys in the countdown to the playoffs.

Manuel was a standout for Waikohu as an openside flanker on their way to last season’s Lee Bros Shield final.

But in his absence, James Rutene, Richard Green, Tulsa Kaui and Tonga Stevens have stepped up.

Tuapawa said it was “a great headache to have” and it was not isolated to the loosies.

“We’ve got players all over the pitch, forwards and backs, amping to make up for losing last season’s final.

“I’ve told the boys they have four games — Ngatapa, YMP, HSOB and OBM — to make it hard for me to leave them out.”

While a fit Pari would be regarded as an automatic starter, deputy Tristen Morten has put pressure on the skipper with his all-action performances.

Even vice-captain and Poverty Bay halfback Mario Counsell cannot rest on his laurels.

His Bay starting position is no guarantee following the recent signing of Hamuera Barker — a former teammate of Ethine Reeves and Jesse Fleming when they played in Palmerston North.

Originally from the East Coast, Barker, made an impressive debut off the bench for Poverty Bay on Saturday.

Counsell, Pari and Manuel thrive on challenges and they won’t get a better chance to show that than tomorrow.

Larsawn Ngatapa have a forward pack to match any of their rivals, despite not having brothers Campbell (prop) and Alex (flanker) Chrisp, Scott Brodie (lock) and Semisi Akana (prop).

Former Poverty Bay lock-cum-loosie Martin Bayley has made himself available and his experience, tackling and ability to run good lines makes him a valuable addition to the squad at the business end of the season.

“Ihaia Kerr has recovered from a hamstring injury and will start at hooker, with Sione taking Semisi’s place,” said co-coach David McDonald.

“From all reports Sam McDell played well when he came on for Poverty Bay, which is good for us and Sam.”

Utility back Oka Sanerivi and fullback Cameron Rowden also played in the Queen’s Birthday clash and made contributions to Poverty Bay’s 58-18 win.

Halfback and skipper Chris Richardson returns from injury and, along with Lyle Crudis, Matt Raleigh, Anthony Karauria, Sanerivi, Pete Livingston, Rowden, Karl Macpherson and Henry Seymour, gives Ngatu and McDonald plenty of options in their backline.

“We’re looking forward to the game,”McDonald said.

“The emphasis will be on controlling the ball and making good decisions in possession.

“We’re also looking for an 80-minute performance . . not 40 or 60, but 80.”

Waikohu coach Jason Tuapawa has thrown down the gauntlet to his players ahead of their premier club rugby match against Ngatapa at Te Karaka tomorrow.

Unbeaten after seven games and assured of a spot in the top-four playoffs, Tuapawa wants his players to “show me they deserve a starting place when the semis come around”.

“We’ve had three weeks without a game, apart from the guys who played for the Bay against the Coast, and the boys can’t wait to get on the paddock again,” said Tuapawa, who is in his first season as GT Shearing Waikohu premier coach.

“We’ve been training but there’s nothing like playing.

“The break has given players like Geoff (Pari, hooker and captain) and Lynden Manuel (openside flanker) time to get over their injuries. Geoff will start tomorrow but we’ll ease Lynden into action from off the bench.”

Manuel’s return gives Tuapawa a selection dilemma when it comes to the No.6 and No.7 jerseys in the countdown to the playoffs.

Manuel was a standout for Waikohu as an openside flanker on their way to last season’s Lee Bros Shield final.

But in his absence, James Rutene, Richard Green, Tulsa Kaui and Tonga Stevens have stepped up.

Tuapawa said it was “a great headache to have” and it was not isolated to the loosies.

“We’ve got players all over the pitch, forwards and backs, amping to make up for losing last season’s final.

“I’ve told the boys they have four games — Ngatapa, YMP, HSOB and OBM — to make it hard for me to leave them out.”

While a fit Pari would be regarded as an automatic starter, deputy Tristen Morten has put pressure on the skipper with his all-action performances.

Even vice-captain and Poverty Bay halfback Mario Counsell cannot rest on his laurels.

His Bay starting position is no guarantee following the recent signing of Hamuera Barker — a former teammate of Ethine Reeves and Jesse Fleming when they played in Palmerston North.

Originally from the East Coast, Barker, made an impressive debut off the bench for Poverty Bay on Saturday.

Counsell, Pari and Manuel thrive on challenges and they won’t get a better chance to show that than tomorrow.

Larsawn Ngatapa have a forward pack to match any of their rivals, despite not having brothers Campbell (prop) and Alex (flanker) Chrisp, Scott Brodie (lock) and Semisi Akana (prop).

Former Poverty Bay lock-cum-loosie Martin Bayley has made himself available and his experience, tackling and ability to run good lines makes him a valuable addition to the squad at the business end of the season.

“Ihaia Kerr has recovered from a hamstring injury and will start at hooker, with Sione taking Semisi’s place,” said co-coach David McDonald.

“From all reports Sam McDell played well when he came on for Poverty Bay, which is good for us and Sam.”

Utility back Oka Sanerivi and fullback Cameron Rowden also played in the Queen’s Birthday clash and made contributions to Poverty Bay’s 58-18 win.

Halfback and skipper Chris Richardson returns from injury and, along with Lyle Crudis, Matt Raleigh, Anthony Karauria, Sanerivi, Pete Livingston, Rowden, Karl Macpherson and Henry Seymour, gives Ngatu and McDonald plenty of options in their backline.

“We’re looking forward to the game,”McDonald said.

“The emphasis will be on controlling the ball and making good decisions in possession.

“We’re also looking for an 80-minute performance . . not 40 or 60, but 80.”

Overall points


Waikohu - 35

YMP - 30

Ngatapa - 29

OBM - 19

HSOB -15

Athletic - 5

Tapuae - 0

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