Waimea OB alone at top of the Stuff Tasman Trophy
By Nick Jeffrey [Stuff]
Waimea Old Boys and Marist produced a frenetic 80-minute game of rugby on Saturday which yielded 97 points and ended with Waimea Old Boys maintaining its perfect record after three weeks of the Stuff Tasman Trophy club rugby season.
Waimea Old Boys David Paulo scores during their match against Marist, at Trafalgar Park. Credit: Luz Zuniga/Stuff
Elsewhere, Wanderers earned its first win of the season after two draws over the opening fortnight of the competition, coming from behind to defeat Stoke while Central and Kahurangi both moved into the top four with dominant performances.
Waimea Old Boys and Marist have been difficult to split over recent seasons with the two sides being involved in many close fought encounters. Saturday proved no different, although it didn’t start that way.
Waimea Old Boys jumped out to a 17-0 lead within the opening ten minutes but just when the red and white sideline thought they were in for an easy day at the office Marist got their game going, dominating possession to come storming back into the contest to take a halftime lead at 33-22.
Marist were initially down, but certainly not out, as they made the inevitable comeback against an Old Boys outfit that raced out of the blocks early on.
That lead was extended after the break before WOB finally started to get their share of the ball. They finally saw the lead with ten minutes to play before giving it up soon after and had to rely on a late Campbell Parata penalty goal to take the five competition points and a bizarre 49-48 victory.
Waimea Old Boys coach Scott McKenzie was a relieved man after the final whistle.
“If you were a neutral observer watching that game you would be rapt but if you were involved in one of the two teams you would have been pulling your hair out. Both sides had the chance to put that game away,” he said.
“I was very happy with the way our guys hung in there. Once you get behind like we did in a game like that you can get loose. I was glad with how we stuck with our structure and trusted our game plan, which got us home in the end,” McKenzie said.
For the winners the front row of Juronia Raea, Ropati Matangi and Eden Beech led the way while Patelesio Latu again provided key impact from the bench.
Preston Sifa, 5, and Mira Hytongue, 6, made it out onto the hallowed turf of Trafalgar Park at half-time.
Waimea Old Boys now gets to enjoy its bye week at the head of the Stuff Tasman Trophy table with a perfect return of 15 competition points while Marist’s loss took a little gloss off the club’s 75th jubilee weekend, with a trip to Blenheim to take on Central scheduled for next Saturday.
Wanderers and Stoke also went all the way to the wire, with Wanderers earning its first win courtesy of a 34-31 victory. After two draws in the opening two weeks, a third looked on the cards but Stoke elected to turn down a late penalty goal attempt which would have tied the score, in an effort to claim an outright victory.
It was a game of momentum swings. Unlike previous weeks, Wanderers had the best of the start having the better of the early exchanges. Stoke worked their way into the contest and looked in control, leading 31-14. But if there’s one thing Wanderers’ coach Glen Grant has learnt this season, it’s that his side knows how to stay in the fight.
“Down by 17 I still had a lot of faith in the guys. I knew we were better than that and to see them dig in, stick to our game plan and get there in the end was very pleasing,” he said.
“We’re getting there in terms of continuity, but it takes time. We’ve got a lot of new boys this season and we’ve got some depth which is great but it takes a while to build confidence and trust in each other, particularly on defence” Grant said.
The action on the field was, at times, as hot as the temperature off it, with running rugby taking the play from end to end.
Chris Halaufia had his usual high work rate while Sione Holani provided a cool head when key turnovers were needed and first five eighth Luca Roden was strong taking the ball to the line and directing play.
Kahurangi dominated Renwick in the weekend’s most lop-sided scoreline, winning by 61-7. Coach Brendan Smith was happy with the final score but not with his side’s effort in the opening half.
“We had a lot of opportunities but I don’t think we showed Renwick enough respect. We were trying to score from anywhere. After halftime we stuck to our structures, held the ball for long periods and built our phases and pressure and it started to fall into place,” Smith said.
Winger Stein Schreiber scored his second hat trick in as many weeks, Willis Scott was exceptional at the back of a dominant Kahurangi scrum while hooker Qori Gucake again stood out.
Marist’s Sam Briggs shows how it’s done during his side’s match against Waimea Old Boys.
Kahurangi will defend the John Goodman Challenge Trophy against Wanderers at Riwaka this Saturday.
Central also banked an impressive victory, proving too good for Awatere/Moutere in a 59-10 rout. Built off a strong platform at set phase, Central scored 11 tries and looked their best when playing direct.
Jack Powell and Matthew McCormick were a dominant presence at lineout time while Nigel Satherly was a constant threat in midfield.
Central will have to make do without impressive winger Timoci Tavatavanawai over coming weeks after the utility outside back was drafted into the Highlanders' Super rugby squad as injury cover.
Meanwhile, just one game was contested in the Golden Bay Fruit Tasman Trophy for Women with Waimea backing up last weekend’s opening round victory with a 33-28 win over Wanderers on Saturday. Riwaka claimed the points from the other scheduled fixture winning by default after Moutere was unable to field a team.
It was a perfect day to watch some top-flight rugby, as these fans found out at a sunny Trafalgar Park on Saturday.
STUFF TASMAN TROPHY POINTS TABLE (After 3 weeks): Waimea Old Boys 15, Kahurangi 10, Wanderers 10, Central 9, Marist 7, Stoke 7, Nelson 5, Waitohi 2, Renwick 0, Awatere/Moutere 0.
GOLDEN BAY FRUIT TASMAN TROPHY – WOMEN (After 2 weeks):
Waimea Old Boys 33 defeated Wanderers 28, Moutere forfeited to Riwaka.
Points: Waimea 4, Moutere 2, Riwaka 2, Wanderers 0.
THE CAR COMPANY DIVISION 2 – NELSON BAYS (After 2 weeks):
Marist 44 v Waimea OB Colts 40, Wanderers 27 v Stoke 22, Valley Stags 25 v Huia 3, Waimea Old Boys 68 v Riwaka 0, Collingwood 29 v Takaka 17.
Points: Waimea Old Boys 10, Collingwood 10, Tapawera 10, Marist 7, Takaka 5, Wanderers 5, Riwaka 5, Waimea Old Boys Colts 4, Stoke 2, Nelson 0, Huia 0.
WADSCO MOTORWORLD DIVISION 2 – MARLBOROUGH (After 2 weeks):
Central 30 v Moutere 3, Awatere 15 v Renwick 12, Waitohi 38 v Pelorus 10.
Points: Central 10, Waitohi 5, Awatere 5, Pelorus 5, Moutere 4, Renwick 3, MBC Old Boys -5.