Hawke’s Bay cross for the second of six tries. They led 28-0 at halftime. PHOTOS/PAUL TAYLOR

RUGBY

SHANE HURNDELLl
Hawke’s Bay Today

Despite going down 17-42 to Hawke’s Bay in a pre-season match at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings on Monday, Wairarapa-Bush coach Joe Harwood was pleased with the first hit-out of the season.

Wairarapa-Bush’s lineout was a strongpoint.

“There was a bit more urgency and go-forward [in the second half],” he said. “Our lineout was good throughout the match and we tidied up our breakdown work in the second half. There were plenty of positives for us.”

Outstanding for Hawke’s Bay was Clive lock Donovan Mataira who has been doing the business week in and week out on the Hawke’s Bay club rugby scene and on Monday proved he is ready for regular representative play.

The 19-year-old, who is top of the leaderboard in the province’s MVP club award after 13 weeks, was powerful on the carry, accurate at lineout time and composed on defence, although to be fair he didn’t have too much defensive work to do as the Magpies dominated the first half and led 28-0 at halftime in ideal conditions and in front of a crowd of 540.

“It was the same level of intensity as the Tasman game but definitely a step up from club play,” Mataira said referring to the Magpies 31-24 win against the Tasman Makos in Wellington last month.

“There’s still work for me to do around the small stuff at lineout time,” Mataira said. “But I was happy with how our new combinations went today and the chemistry we developed as we went along. Hopefully I get another crack against Manawatu.”

His combination with hooker Jack Nelson-Murray and his lifters was top shelf at lineout time.

Mataira had been subbed off when the Magpies defensive systems became too soft for head coach Mark Ozich’s liking in the second half.

“This game was all about growing and developing our young guys,” Ozich said. “We wanted to see who can and who can’t step up at this level and for some it was a reality check. While there were moments of good stuff we were striving for a result which wasn’t there.

“This was only a marginal step up from club play and our skill level under pressure wasn’t good enough. That was an underwhelming back end of the second half. I want to see an appreciation of the fundamentals before the flash stuff as we build towards the Manawatu game.”

His lads defended well until the 56th minute when Wairarapa Bush scored their first try which was deserved. However the Magpies should not have leaked the tries they did in the 69th and 78th minutes and they almost conceded another seconds before the fulltime whistle.

Along with Mataira, loosehead prop Pouri Rakete-Stones and blindside flanker Eru Wano were the pick of the Magpies starting forwards. Halfback Zac Donaldson was lively and centre Antonio Mikaele-Tu’u worked hard for his two tries.

Prop Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe did some good work off the Magpies subs bench in the second half.

The visitors displayed vast improvement on the 14-57 and 7-40 defeats in the respective 2018 and 2017 encounters.

Captain and blindside flanker James Goodger, second five-eighth Brock Price, who scored two tries, centre Robbie Anderson, fullback Inia Katia and winger Logan Prendevile-Heberton were the best of the Wairarapa-Bush starters. Substitute No 8 Joe Tako impressed with his impact in the second half.

Scorers:

Hawke’s Bay Magpies 42 (Antonio Mikaele-Tu’u 2, Iakopo Mapu, Anzelo Tuitavuki, Tyrone Dodd-Edwards, Timo Vaiusu tries; Kodie Drury-Hawkins 4, Lincoln McClutchie 2 cons), Wairarapa-Bush 17 (Brock Price 2, Robbie Anderson tries; Anderson con). HT: 28-0.