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Red Devils claim another Heartland scalp

Reyne Volavola scored twice for the Tasman Red Devils against West Coast.
STUFF

Reyne Volavola scored twice for the Tasman Red Devils against West Coast.

The Tasman Red Devils rugby side continued their impressive early-season form with a 31-17 win over West Coast in Murchison.

Last week the Devils downed Buller at the same venue, on Saturday they lifted their game another notch to produce a second win against a Heartland championship side.

After a tight first half which ended with the Marlborough-based side ahead 12-10, they pulled away in the second spell against the dogged Coasters.

Lock Reyne Volavola scored two of the Red Devils' five tries, first five Trance Poa, loosie Mike Curry and midfielder Aisea Halo the others.

Devils' coach Mark Stewart described his side's efforts as a step up from their previous encounter."We were a better side this week, that's the most pleasing thing. Our structure was better and our defence was generally good.

"In the first half some of the guys were trying to hit a bit high [in the tackles] so we decided to go to more chopping tackles in the second 40 which seemed to work better and [West Coast] found it harder to get through us.

"It was also pleasing that, although we played well in patches, we went the whole 80 minutes again.

The Devils' lineout worked well, as did their scrum, which recovered well after being put under pressure in the early stages. 

Halfback Ben Finau was a standout, backing up from a replacement's role for the Tasman Makos against Wellington on Thursday. The lively No 9 was a constant threat with ball in hand and served his backline well. Flanker Jesse MacDonald, hooker Billy Collins and Volavola stood out in the pack while midfielders Halo and Robbie Malneek, winger Ula Fotu and Poa, in the unfamiliar 10 shirt, handled the basics well. 

The bench players also made a difference when called into the game, especially loosie Josh Holdaway, halfback Chris Bolton, plus frontrowers Lockie McCormick and Jack Best.

Next weekend the Red Devils will play Tasman Maori at Lansdowne Park in their final warm-up match before the South Island Invitational tournament begins. Their first match in that competition is against Southland B in Invercargill on August 26.

In the late game at Murchison on Saturday, the Tasman Griffins prevailed over Buller 57-14.

Scores: Marlborough 31 (Reyne Volavola 2, Trance Poa, Mike Curry, Aisea Halo tries, Halo 3 con) West Coast 17. HT 12-10 Tasman 

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