Jack Eschenbach in action for Rathkeale College against Lindisfarne College. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Wairarapa-Bush may have lost all their matches at the national sevens championships in Tauranga over the weekend, but the experience gained will prove invaluable, coach Eli Telford said.

The team, who lost all their five games, had gone well against sides who were far better resourced and gave strong displays against teams such as Auckland and Manawatu.

“This year, we were one of only two Heartland unions to qualify for the tournament — that in itself is an achievement,” Telford said on Monday.

“It was good for us to test ourselves against sides such as Auckland, who are one of the biggest unions. At around half-time we had them rattled.”

Telford said one of the standouts for the team was 18-year-old Jack Eschenbach who scored most of his side’s tries and conversions.

“For us to unearth him on the big stage is just great. He marked New Zealand Sevens player Joe Ravouvou in the match against Auckland and did a great job at sweeper.

“For a little man, he showed a lot of heart.”

Captain Inia Katia’s experience had also been a big help for the side.

Telford said that while Wairarapa-Bush would have liked to have come away with at least a win, the experience had been good for the team.

“Hopefully we can come back next year with better resources and take away a few wins.

“We just need a bit more resourcing and competition among players for the places, so we can have the best team possible.”

Results:

Pool play – lost to Counties Manukau 24-0, lost to Manawatu 22-14, lost to North Harbour 50-0. Bowl q-final: lost to Auckland 26-12. Shield s-final: lost to Northland 35-12.