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Baa Baas run away in second half

Barbarians centre Charles Mataitai beats the scrambling Thames Valley defence. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

Wai-Bush Barbarians 29
Thames Valley Development 13

The Wairarapa-Bush Barbarians pulled away in the final 20 minutes with three tries to notch a comfortable win over the Thames Valley Development side at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

The home side led 10-8 after a tight first half, through tries to winger Nathan Hunt and lock Tama Leaf.

Neither team could break each other’s defence in the early stages of the second half until Tuhirangi winger Isaac Vollebregt scored two tries midway through the spell to break the game open.

The first started with Reece Calkin, who, in typical Baa Baas’ fashion, ran the ball from inside his own 22.

Barbarians winger Isaac Vollebregt pushes off a Thames Valley defender.

He found space for centre Charles Mataitai, who has recovered from the knee injury that kept him out of the Wai-Bush Heartland side.

Mataitai used his power and pace and brushed off three defenders and sent Vollebregt off on a 40m sprint to the line.

Vollebregt was then on the end of a backline move and crossed for his second five-pointer four minutes later for a 22-8 lead.

Thames Valley closed the gap to nine points with a try from a forward drive almost immediately, but the Barbarians had the final say with another long-range try finished by Hunt, who had too much pace for the opposition defence on a 60m run to the line.

The win completed the season for the Barbarians, who were coached by Martinborough’s James Bruce and Hatarei Brown, and East Coast’s Aaron Matenga.

Bruce said the team provided a good step up from club rugby, and the intent was to play true Barbarians rugby and move the ball from anywhere on the field.

“The biggest thing is understanding the type of rugby we wanted to play, so anything goes, and it took a while for the players to get the idea,” Bruce said.

He said he would recommend that four or five players from the team attend Wai-Bush Heartland training to gain experience at the next level

NO ANSWER TO KING COUNTRY

King Country 55
Wairarapa-Bush 5

Wairarapa-Bush had no answer to King Country’s big ball-running players in a Heartland women’s match played at Turangi on Saturday.

Again, Wai-Bush were hit by the late withdrawal of two players on Friday night, meaning that they travelled with only 16 players. Their numbers were then reduced to the bare minimum 15 when No 8 Missy Williams hurt her ribs early in the game.

Most of the King Country side play as a rugby league team, and Wai-Bush struggled to cope with their ability to offload, their big ball runners and direct running lines, as they cruised to a 43-0 lead at the break.

The second half was far more competitive, with Wai-Bush never giving up under the sustained pressure, an aspect that pleased coach Scott Collins.

“They pounded and pounded away with big ball carriers, but we kept getting back up and going back at them, so the heart and ticker were there, and that’s something that’s been commonplace for the whole year,” Collins said.

“They had 24 players so they could roll on subs, but we never backed down, and we’d get knocked down, and we’d get up, and keep going. Definitely one of the more physical games.”

Wai-Bush’s efforts were rewarded with the final try of the game to stand-in first-five Brodie Walker.

Wai-Bush wrap their season against Whanganui at Memorial Park on Saturday at 1.30pm as part of an exchange between the two provinces which also includes Under-16 boys and Under-15 girls representative teams.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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