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Back to the drawing board: Rutene rues lack of basics

Team mascot Rory the Stag looks unimpressed with the Wai-Bush effort. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

Return to drawing board

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush coach Mark Rutene is bemoaning his team’s inability to get any momentum in Saturday’s disastrous 10-42 Heartland Championship loss to Thames Valley at Trust House Memorial Park.

“We couldn’t string any phases together, we dropped the ball, lost lineouts, couldn’t kick it out when we had penalties, so we couldn’t get anything going.

“Then in the second half, we thought we might trial that new 12-a-side game, but Thames Valley obviously didn’t get the memo,” said Rutene in reference to Wai-Bush playing with three men down.

Replacement halfback Inia Katia … sent off.

That followed second-half red cards to replacement halfback Inia Katia and hooker James Pakoti for high tackles, and a yellow card to No 8 Joe Teko, who raced 20m to push an opposition player in the back in the melee that ensued after Katia’s indiscretion.

That meant Wai-Bush were down to 12 players for two minutes, 13 players for 18 minutes, and they were only restored to 14 players for the final nine minutes.

By then, Thames Valley had taken full toll of the tiring defenders, eventually running in four late tries.

“We probably played our better rugby with guys down, and we defended quite well for reasonable periods. But in the end, the numbers just told, and we had run out of puff by then,” said Rutene.

Rutene said the game’s flow wasn’t helped by Canterbury referee George Haswell, who was making his first-class debut, and blew more than 40 penalties that contributed to the stop-start nature of the game.

“It wasn’t the flashest rugby in the first half and the ref, I don’t how many penalties he blew, but he was new at the level. He blew every indiscretion, and the game just didn’t flow – it was boring.

“You could say we were rusty, but we just couldn’t string phases together, and if we did, it was blown up with a penalty.

“There’s a lot of easy fixable stuff, like kick it out, catch the ball, and make your tackles.”

Despite some serious shortcomings Rutene said there were some positives to come out of the game.

“Our scrum was even with theirs, our lineout we lost a few, but we won a few of theirs.

Vesi Luatua wins a lineout against Thames Valley. The big lock is unavailable for the away trip to Timaru.

“We competed in the lineout, but they were probably better at the breakdown because we weren’t shifting enough bodies.”

With the strong probability that he will lose Katia and Pakoti to suspension, Rutene has added Marist’s Paddy Gluck, who can cover halfback and first-five, and Carterton hooker Terongo Tekii, to the squad to prepare for Saturday’s away game to South Canterbury.

He is also likely to have former All Black Zac Guildford in contention for a midfield spot.

However, the forward stocks have taken a blow, with experienced lock Vesi Luatua unavailable this weekend.

Rutene was to name his squad for the trip to Timaru after last night’s training.

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