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Centurions outclass Wai-Bush

Joe Tako, with ball, had a powerful first half at No 8 for Wai-Bush. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Final scoreline not a fair reflection of team

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

WAIRARAPA-BUSH 10
WELLINGTON CENTURIONS 45

Wellington Centurions scored seven tries to run out comfortable winners over Farriers Wairarapa-Bush in a Heartlands Championship warm-up match at Carterton on Saturday.

However, the final scoreline was not a fair reflection of the effort put in by the home side, who battled bravely against their more polished opponents, and played 20 minutes with 14 players.

Wai-Bush started well and had the better of much of the first half, dominating territory and possession. Centurions though were the first to score when No 8 Lucas Rees strolled 25m through some soft defence after 12 minutes.

First-five Tipene Haira closed the gap to two points with the first try for the home side after 21 minutes.

However, the complexion of the game changed seven minutes later when prop Lewis Bush took out the leaping Centurions wing Roderick Solo in the air.

It was more a case of poor timing and there was nothing malicious in the action, but Solo landed on his shoulder and referee Alistair Payne had no option but to red card Bush, who had been strong at scrum time and in general play.

Bush will face the judiciary tonight, with a potential suspension, which could see him miss the start of the Heartland campaign.

Wai-Bush continued to compete manfully but conceded a late try to go into the break 5-14 down.

Centurions came out firing early in the second stanza and added a second try while Wai-Bush were still down a man.

Haira felt the red card had a big impact on the final outcome of the game.

“Losing Bushy early affected us a lot, and it’s hard to come back when you’ve got 14 players on the field, and they scored two tries out of that, so our discipline … we have to stay on top of that,” Haira said.

The visitors extended the lead to 21 points before replacement halfback Isaac Bracewell pulled a try back midway through the half. But the home team defence had no answer for the mounting possession Centurions enjoyed and coupled with their ability to offload in the tackle, the Wellington side ran in three tries in that last 12 minutes for a flattering scoreline.

Haira said it was a mixed effort by Wai-Bush.

“I thought in the first half we built phases and we used the ball quite well, and we got down there and we scored a good try. Maybe in the second half we probably panicked a bit and rushed the ball instead of getting set.

“We did a few good things that we can take out of the game and then there were some work-ons as well but moving forward I’ve got confidence in the boys.

“They were a strong side and they’re Wellington B and I thought we went all right against them. They’ve got some big boys in the forwards.”

For Wai-Bush, No 8 Joe Tako almost invariably got over the gain line with strong ball carries and stood out with several powerful runs.

Rooky hooker Henry Wilson looks a player of promise. He did his core duties well, with accurate throwing to the lineouts, which became a bit of a lottery after he was replaced at halftime.

The forwards generally competed well at the breakdown but in the end the effort of playing with 14 players for 20 minutes against a quality side told.

The backs didn’t get enough ball, especially in the second half, to show their wares, however, Daryl Pickering was solid and assured at halfback, and second-five Tafa Tafa was a dangerous runner when given space.

Wai-Bush will complete their Heartland build-up against Wellington Samoans at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

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