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Tasman Trophy Rd 1 match reports

The first round of the Tasman Trophy featured some high scoring matches and a pair of unexpected upsets with Kahurangi drawing with Marist 32-all in the at Sports Park Motueka and Wanderers hammering Nelson 37-14 at Neale Park.

Elsewhere Waimea Old Boys dominated Stoke winning 55-20 in the early game at Sport Park Motueka, Renwick accounted for Waitohi 40-22 at the Renwick Domain and Central downed Moutere 50-27 at Lansdowne Park. 

Wanderers Elnino Peniamina scoring one of his two tries in a superb performance against Nelson at Neale park today. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport

A pair of major upsets marked the opening round of the Tasman Trophy as defending champions Marist were held to a draw with Kahurangi while Wanderers hammered Nelson 37-14.

Ill-discipline would plague Nelson who were at one stage down to 13 men while Wanderers' blockbusting young mid-field duo of Tone Vaka and Elnino Peniamina wreaked havoc on the hosts defence.

Skipper Fletcher Smith says it was the perfect way to start the season.

"We had a good off season with a solid group of boys, we have been working hard on our fitness, we are never going to be the biggest team in the comp but we pride ourselves on our fitness, I think that showed today."

Smith says the blistering performances of his young centres was not unexpected.

"They are pretty dynamic, we just said to them at the start of the game to express themselves and if they want to have a crack go for it, they set us a really good foundation."

In what was former All Black Kane Hames' first premier assignment, Wanderers first five Justin Barr opened the scoring before Nelson winger Rico Joass pounced on a loose pass and weaved his way to the line for the opening try.

Wanderers didn't take long to reply as Peniamina got over for his first on the back of a strong break from his halfback.

The boys from Brightwater struck again just before halftime through a stunning solo effort from Peniamina, breaking the line and skinning the cover defence to give his side a 15-7 half-time advantage.

Wanderers' midfield continued to cause carnage in the second, this time it was Vaka scoring from a pin-point cross kick. from Barr.

Penalties began to mount against Nelson and Barr added another three to the total.

Eventually Hames set skipper Isaac Salmon to the bin and they lost another shortly after a due to a high shot.

Wanderers took immediate advantage as Matthews effectively sealed the result when he latched on to a superb offload from Peniamina to stretch it to 30-7.

They would heaped more misery on the depleted hosts when Levi McPherson went in to blow the scoreboard out.

Nelson did score a late consolation through Sosefa Vaka but the result was well and truly assured.

Wanderers 37 (Elnino Peniamina 2, Fletcher Smith, Tone Vaka, Levi McPherson tries, Justin Barr 2 pens 3 cons) def. Nelson 12 (Rico Joass, Sosefo Vaka tries, Matt Soper 1 con).

Elsewhere, Marist trailed Kahurangi 13-10 at halftime in Motueka before being held to a 32-all draw in a major upset to open the season.

Waimea Old Boys accounted for Stoke in the curtain raiser 55-20.

Renwick and Central were quickest out of the blocks when the 2020 race for the Tasman Trophy rugby competition began in the top of the south on Saturday.

Opening salvoes in the division one showpiece were fired in brilliant Marlborough early-autumn sunshine, Renwick accounting for Waitohi 40-22 at the Renwick Domain and Central downing Moutere 50-27 at Lansdowne Park. 

Both games were typical early-season affairs, teams mixing moments of co-ordination and flair with periods of muddled play and inaccurate attack. The hefty scorelines suggested defence is a “work on”, an issue to be expected at this stage of the campaign. 

Renwick have their eyes set on claiming a first Marlborough title and downing the defending champs first up is a step in the right direction, although the lop-sided score line on Saturday was hardly indicative of the tussle that ensued.  

At halftime the game was in the balance, the Green Machine holding a tenuous 14-10 lead after both sides had scored twice. 

However the break acted as something of a turning point, the home side quickly racking up 26 unanswered points to ensure the vocal home crowd went away happy. Renwick played a more expansive game, linking well between backs and forwards and denying Waitohi field position from where they could utilise their potent close-to-the-breakdown attack.  

The Tohis underlined their renowned fighting spirit with two late tries to grab a four-try bonus point, but had to bow to a better team on the day.    

Outstanding up front for the victors, who were without props George Tuineau and Quinn Harrison-Jones this week, were loosies Cody Weir, who scored a hat-trick of tries, and Kurt Schollum, plus prop Sione Lonitenisi and lock Jaydn Holdaway.

The new 9/10 combination of halfback Ruairidh Swan and Alex Barnsley showed promise, especially given a better platform in the second spell, while midfielders Kyle Marfell and Pecili Denicaucau threatened throughout. 

Taimi Fangatua, Corey McCaffery, Taine Cragg-Love, Andre Hebberd and Dylan Burns impressed up front for the visitors, who were missing Corey Bovey and Jack Evans, while halfback Saia Tokai, midfielder Nela Samita and newcomer Dylan McManaway shone in the backline. 

Renwick’s head coach Glenn Blackmore was happy to grab a first-up win but quickly acknowledged it was only a small step along the way. 

“Waitohi are obviously a tough challenge first up and they brought a lot of intensity, but our goal was to get off to a positive start and the scoreline reflected that. 

“In the second half Jaydn [Holdaway] and Kurt [Schollum] really stepped up and I was happy with how our set pieces went, especially with a couple of front rowers away this week.”   

Meanwhile at Lansdowne Park, the Blues opened up a handy lead against the Magpies and never relinquished it, although Moutere stayed in the fight to bag a bonus point for scoring four tries. 

Renwick 40 (Rurairidh Swan, Cody Weir 3, Sione Lonitenisi, Pecili Denicaucau tries, Alex Barnsley 5 con) Waitohi 22 (Saia Tokai, Nela Samita, Tiare Tautari, Taimi Fangatua tries, Dylan McManaway con). HT: 14-10 Renwick. 

Central led 33-10 at halftime, scoring four tries and getting good value from lock Jone Lasaganibau, plus outside backs Nigel Satherley and Eseroma Wagalutu. 

The second half was less decisive, being drawn 17-17, with the Magpies, who have had an off-season battle to get numbers on the park, battling back to grab their consolation point. 

Coach Laurie McGlone was happy on three counts; they had good numbers available, his charges fought until the final whistle and, on a personal note, he didn’t have to step into the reserves as happened so often last season.      

He pointed to skipper Luke Scott and halfback Tristan Taylor as their best performers.  

Central 50 (Jeremy Foley, Jone Lasaganibau, Liam Duncan, Eseroma Wagalutu, Samuela Levu, Jesse Eising, Nigel Satherley tries, Duncan 3 con, pen, Glen Smith 2 con, Gareth Smith con) Moutere 27 (Clyde Paewai, Kaleb Avery, Haven Walsh, Dan Monaghan tries, Monaghan con, Kieran Lloyd con, pen). HT: 33-10. 

Round 2 Matches - Currently suspended until 18 April.