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Defence, discipline costly for Wai-Bush

Lock Andrew Smith takes the tackle with prop Tolu Fahamokioa in support. PHOTO/PAUL RICKARD



A poor second half cost Farriers Wairarapa-Bush as they slumped to their second loss of the Heartland Championship in Gisborne on Saturday.

The visitors led 19-13 at the break having scored three tries – two to bustling prop Tupou Lea’aemanu and the first to No 8 Jack Loader on debut – to Poverty Bay’s one try. However, the home side kept the scoreboard ticking over with Wai-Bush’s poor discipline at the breakdown gifting them easy penalties.

Referee Marcus Playle’s patience with Wai-Bush ran out early in the second half and second-five Tafa Tafa was sin-binned for an offence at the breakdown.

Poverty Bay made the green and reds pay when elusive winger Te Peehi Fairlie, who had been a constant threat to the defence, took advantage of the extra space crossed for the try, which outstanding fullback Moses Christie converted to give the home team a 20-19 lead.

First-five Ruan Du Plooy extended Poverty Bay’s advantage with a brilliant try from inside their own half after they snaffled a Wai-Bush lineout throw. Quick ball gave centre Ted Walters space and his 30m run through some ordinary defence set up Du Plooy, who dived over to give Moses a straightforward conversion.

A third Moses penalty gave Poverty Bay a 30-19 lead with eight minutes to play.

Fullback Aseri Waqa gave Wai-Bush some hope of a late comeback with a try in the 78th minute. First-five Aidan Champion fielded a poor clearance kick and spread the ball wide to Tafa, who fed to Waqa for an easy run in.

Earlier Wai-Bush were strong in the set piece, forcing one scrum tighthead, which led to Loader’s opening try, and an attacking lineout that culminated in Lea’aemanu first five-pointer.

Poor discipline at the breakdown and basic errors meant the green and reds failed to gain any real momentum and retain possession for concerted periods, while they also struggled to contain the dangerous Poverty Bay attackers, with Fairlie and Christie to the forefront.

Workaholic Sam Gammie playing in the unaccustomed position of lock had an outstanding 80 minutes, Loader impressed with some strong runs on debut, Tafa was a solid defender and powerful runner in midfield, while hooker Sam Siaosi continues to stand out with his damaging running with ball in hand and accurate lineout throwing.

And could this be a first in New Zealand first-class rugby – a father and son in the front row together?

Former Cook Islands international and Wai-Bush scrum coach Stan Wright, and son Stan Wright Jnr took the field for the final 20 minutes. That’s one for the statisticians.

Wai-Bush picked up two bonus points for the loss and are 11th in the 12-team competition after two rounds.

Brief Scores

Poverty Bay 30 [Jesse Kapene, Te Peehi Fairlie, Ruan Du Plooy tries; Moses Christie 3 pens, 3 cons] Wairarapa-Bush 26 [Tupou Lea’aemanu [2], Jack Loader, Aseri Waqa tries; Aidan Champion 3 cons] HT 13-19.

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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