Paddy Gluck had an outstanding game for Marist before being sinbinned. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Marist hang on to beat Carterton and the Coasties tip over the defending champions. Times-Age sportswriter Chris Cogdale reviews Saturdays’ opening round of premier club rugby.

RUGBY

Gritty defence had Marist hang on to record an important 16-15 victory over Carterton at Carterton despite being down to 14 players for the last 12 minutes, and being reduced to 13 players for five minutes.

Marist were ahead 16-8 when influential first-five Paddy Gluck was sin-binned for a deliberate knockdown.

The home team turned down the kick at goal to push for a five-pointer, and almost scored immediately only for replacement winger Jarrod Woods to lose the ball in attempting to ground it.

Marist were soon down to 13 players when a replacement player was yellow carded for not wearing a mouthguard.

With four minutes left on the clock Carterton finally breached the Marist defence, when big centre Denny Lauvi made a powerful surge to send Gus McGeorge over for his second try of the game.

Sam Morison narrowed the gap to one point, but it was too little, too late and Marist held on for a valuable victory.

Marist started the better and dominated much of the first half. A try to right wing Pua Tafa gave them an 8-3 halftime lead.

Carterton came out fired up after the break and were rewarded with McGeorge, a flanker playing at fullback, crossing to even the scores.

A try to centre A Tamakehu, and another Tafa penalty stretched Marist’s lead to 16-8, before the late drama.

The Marist defence led by blindside flanker Joe Beech, who pulled off several try saving tackles in the dying minutes, can take a lot of credit for the victory. The former Wairarapa-Bush representative was assured at lineout time, consistently winning his ball and often disrupting opposition throw-ins.

Electric winger Soli Malatai also made his presence felt, forcing several turnovers and being instrumental in both of Marist’s tries.

Captain Peter Beech was thrilled with the outcome.

“It was real tough coming down here, they fronted big time, it was physical, they were structured and organised and full credit to them,” he said.

“I guess the first game with a few new combinations on both sides it was bit messy and our set piece is a big work on.”

He said he was excited about the potential of the team’s backline.

“I call it the Ferrari backline. We’ve got some really electric players out there, so it’s up to us forwards to front up and give them some front foot ball. The onus is on us to let them do their stuff because they know what they’re doing and when they did get some good ball you can see what happens.”

As for the remainder of the competition Beech was expecting no easy games.

“You’re going to have to front up every week, because it’s going to be like knockout every game.”

A penalty try with about five minutes to play earned East Coast a hard fought 25-22 win over defending champions Martinborough at Whareama.

Much of the win can be put down to staunch defence by the Coasties, who time and time again denied the talented Martinborough backline.

Cameron Ravenwood, who has returned to the region after playing premier rugby in Canterbury, was outstanding at first-five for the winners, including setting up a vital try for flanker Jamie Feast with a powerful run.

Any notion that Gladstone won’t be a threat quickly disappeared at Eketahuna with a comprehensive 22-8 victory over the home side. Fullback Henry Eschenbach and halfback Inia Katia were in outstanding form for last year’s beaten finalists.

Greytown showed they will be a force to be reckoned with, running away in the second half for a bonus point 38-10 win over a brave Pioneer.

Scores

[home teams first]

Premier Moose Kapene Cup

Carterton 15; Marist 16; East 25, Martinborough 22; Greytown 38, Pioneer 10; Eketahuna 8, Gladstone 22

Senior Reserves

East Coast 33, Gladstone 20; Eketahuna 13, Pioneer 12; Puketoi 31, Marist 21; Carterton 28, Featherston 0; Greytown 57, Martinborough 5