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Carterton counterattack just too slick for Marist


Marist had no answer to Carterton’s lethal counterattack as the defending champions ran away for a comfortable 35–19 victory in the wet at Carterton.

The home side’s ability to create from deep in their own half was evident in the first five minutes when veteran flanker Inia Katia forced a turnover inside his 22 and set alight a scintillating counterattack, which ended with winger Billy Leberi dotting down in the corner after collecting a pinpoint crosskick from captain and first-five Daryl Pickering.

Big prop Tupou Lea’aemanu doubled the lead, scoring out wide after a series of hit-ups close to the line.

Marist then had their best period of the game, with tries to second-five Tafa Tafa and centre Charles Mataitai, both from excellent build-up play, for a 12–10 lead. That lasted all of two minutes, with Aseri Waqa sparking another counterattack, which ended with Pickering bagging a five-pointer followed by a try to Taka Toamotu in the corner when he collected a brilliant inside flick from Waqa.

The home side continued to make Marist pay for some low-percentage rugby in the increasingly wet conditions in the second half, with further tries to Leberi and No. 8 Zach Wakefield before hooker Sam Siaosi scored a consolation try for the visitors.

“We probably left just as many points out there as we scored, which is promising,” said a satisfied Pickering, adding that it was a big improvement from the first-up loss to Martinborough.

“We knew that Marist were a big team. We wanted to play eyes-up rugby and try and attack them around the fringes, and it showed in some of those tries with support players punching through the middle. Once we broke that line there seemed to be gaps everywhere.”


A strong first half set up Eketāhuna’s first win in a year and only second victory in two years, holding off a strong finish from Pioneer at Trust House Memorial Park.

Tries to loose forwards BJ Campbell and Sam Gammie and Fijian winger Lex Iliesa saw Eke take a 21– 0 lead into the break.

Pioneer lifted their effort in the second 40 minutes, crossing for three tries, but in the end, it wasn’t enough and Eke held on for a deserved victory to the delight of coach Anthony Rowden.

“Pioneer came out hissing in the second half, and we made a few basic errors, and they put on the pressure,” Rowden said.

“Huge relief; it was only a second win in two years, and after last week, when we grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory, there’s a bit of belief, and things are starting to come right.”


Close, but no cigar!

That was the story for Masterton Red Star as they blew a prime opportunity to score their first premier victory in 12 years. A try with about two minutes left on the clock gave Stars a shot at pulling off a comeback victory, but the normally reliable Tarquin Karaitiana’s conversion attempt was off-target, and East Coast held on for their second victory of the season.

Stars coach Chris Senior reckoned it was their own fault to be in that position after a series of errors helped the Coasties build a 15–0 lead.

“It was scoreless until the last five minutes of the first half, and we had two brain explosions on our line and gave them one try and then a penalty right on halftime. In the first five minutes of the second half, they kicked long, and we had a goalline dropout and kicked out on the full, and they scored from the scrum, and then we realised we can play some rugby and we came back from there,” Senior said.

“To be 15–0 down and to come back was a pretty good effort, and we were missing 12 players, so we can take a lot out of that; it shows the good depth, and it showed that we are improving.”


Martinborough coach James Bruce was happy to bag the five points for a bonus point victory in the wet at Greytown.

“There were plenty of errors, but I was very happy overall, given the wet conditions,” Bruce said.

“It was pretty tough to start with, and it was fairly tight for a while, but we had a good bench with Jared Hawkins and Cody Cunningham and guys like that, so that helped at the back end of the game.”

Bruce singled out captain Tipene Haira for his composed game at first-five, especially his accurate kicking game, and Shane Colton again impressed at fullback, while he said veteran loose forward Tana Isaac stood out for Greytown.

The victory gives Martinborough the lead on the points table in the Lane Penn Cup after two rounds.


Martinborough 10; East Coast 8; Carterton 7; Greytown, Marist, Eketāhuna 5; Pioneer 2; Masterton Red Star 1.


East Coast 15 Tuhirangi 52; Greytown 29 Martinborough 22; Carterton 79 Featherston 3; Pioneer 32 Gladstone 28.

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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