Farriers Wairarapa-Bush scored seven tries to dismantle Horowhenua-Kapiti 41-8 in Levin in their first outing of the truncated representative season.
Wai-Bush’s intentions to attack were evident from the start, with the first try coming after a movement started from inside their goal-line.
It was finished with a 50m run by prop Chris Hemi, although that would be one of the debutant’s final acts of the game. He limped off shortly afterwards with a knee injury that could end his season.
Lock Joe Beech was the next to feel the try-scoring jinx. After scoring in the 13th minute, he was forced from the field with an Achilles injury that troubled him throughout the club season.
Centre Teihana Brown and fullback Tafa Tafa later added to the growing injury list, succumbing to hamstring injuries.
The loss of Hemi and Joe Beech brought Greytown teammates Lewis Bush into prop and regular No 8 Tavita Isaac into lock.
Coach Joe Harwood was impressed with their efforts.
“Bushy came on early and made a big impact. He scrummed well and carried well and was quite industrious,” he said.
“Tavita had to go into lock for 65 minutes and did a bloody good job, and Peter Beech in terms of leading our lineout. He was our one experienced lock we had out there, and he had a great game in his first-up match for Wai-Bush.”
Harwood said second-five Nikora Ewe and winger Soli Malatai, who both missed 2019, also stood out for their impact in the backline.
He also had special praise for debutant halfback Cameron Ravenwood.
“The guy gets through a ton of work. He always asked questions around the breakdown, he carried well and defended extremely well, and probably topped our tackle count. For a young guy he was outstanding.”
Harwood said, overall the coaches were pleased with the energy and effort.
“We talked about being patient with the ball in hand, and I think there were about 12 clean linebreaks in that first half and we just didn’t convert.
“They were nice breaks too, but we just forced the pass a little bit.
“In saying that it was our first hit-out, so we’re pretty happy really – but we certainly left a lot of points out there.”
SCORES: Horowhenua-Kapiti 8 [Ilisoni Rauhihi try; Jack Tatu-Robertsson pen] Wairarapa-Bush 41 [Chris Hemi, Joe Beech, Tavita Isaac, Soli Malatai, Lewis Bush, Kirk Tufuga, Tupou Leaaemanu tries; Tipene Haira 3 con]. HT 3-17.