Respect … The Wairarapa-Bush and NZ Army teams observing a minute’s silence in memory of Sir Brian Lochore before their match on Tuesday night. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV
But broken leg ends Wakeling’s season
NZ ARMY 10
Some encouraging signs emerged from Wairarapa-Bush’s 53-10 thrashing of New Zealand Army in the first Heartland Championship warm-up game on Tuesday night at Memorial Park.
The home team dominated from the kickoff and it wasn’t long before they were across the tryline.
Veteran lock Lachie McFadzean made the bust through the midfield and passed to winger Tristan Flutey to finish wide out.
Centre Robbie Anderson was next to score after 19 minutes.
Further tries to fullback Inia Katia and impressive first-five Jack Wakeling, on debut, gave the home side a handy 23-9 lead at the interval.
Wakeling had been outstanding in the first 40 minutes, but his game and Heartland season ended abruptly early in the second half.
The East Coast utility back went down in agony in a one-on-one tackle and was stretchered from the field.
He was later diagnosed with broken fibia and tibia bones and was to undergo surgery on Wednesday.
Wairarapa-Bush coach Joe Harwood said Wakeling was having one of the best debuts he’d ever seen.
“He was absolutely outstanding with his ability to carry the ball to the line and challenge the defence,” Harwood said.
“He was in the process of making another line break when he was hit in the tackle. I’m gutted for the young fella.”
There was no let-up for the visitors in the second 40 minutes, with the Wai-Bush bench making a big impact.
A try by big Fijian No 8 Joe Tako, on as a substitute, followed by second-five Brock Price dotting down, an outstanding individual effort by Johan van Vliet, a first rep try for winger Logan Prendeville-Heberton, and a penalty try wrapped up the scoring.
Harwood was pleased with the manner of the victory.
“Our intensity from the get-go was good.
“We pressured the army with our good defensive line speed.
“We were very good at the breakdown – I don’t think we gave away a penalty. We were able to get over the top of the ball and force turnovers.
“Our ball carries were excellent and the angles we ran were very pleasing.”
The team had produced good attacking patterns to score some good tries.
“Our handling let us down a bit at times and we left a few opportunities out there. Overall, I’m pleased with the hitout.”
Harwood also praised the senior members of the team for their on-field leadership.
“The leadership group showed a fair bit of maturity and the guys managed to sort things out for themselves on the field.
“For example, we gave away a tighthead on the strike in the first scrum, but we worked it out and gained dominance. There were plenty of good positives.”
One negative was the goalkicking – only three successful conversions from eight attempts.
There’s little respite for Wairarapa-Bush, with the second warm-up game against the Wellington Development team to be played at the Hutt Recreation Ground tomorrow.
Harwood said every player would get an opportunity to impress before the Heartland Championship began later this month.
“We have a squad of 25 and it’s important that they all get game time. We’ll be looking to develop our combinations further.”
The Wairarapa-Bush and NZ Army teams wore black arm bands and observed a minute’s silence in remembrance of Sir Brian Lochore.
However, it was disappointing that there was no ground announcer and no official acknowledgement of what was happening from the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union.
Wairarapa-Bush 53 [Tristan Flutey, Robbie Anderson, Inia Katia, Joseva Tako, Brock Price, Johan van Vliet, Logan Prendeville-Heberton, Jake Wakeling tries, penalty try. Jack Wakeling 2 con, Tipene Haira con] NZ Army 10. HT 23-5.