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Discipline hurts Wai-Bush

Tafa Tafa dives over for Wai-Bush’s second try. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

Wairarapa-Bush 17
Horowhenua-Kapiti 33

Poor discipline again haunted Farriers Wairarapa-Bush as they fell to their third loss in three games in the Heartland Championship at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

Two yellow cards and a penalty count of almost two-to-one against, helped Horowhenua-Kapiti, who punished the home side with two tries and 17 points when Wai-Bush were reduced to 14 men for 20 minutes.

Prop Tupou Lea’aemanu, for throwing a punch, and winger Fiula Tameilau, for a marginal tackle of a player in the air, spent time in the sin bin, taking Wai-Bush’s total of yellow carded players to four in three games.

Wai-Bush captain Eddie Cranston said his team’s poor discipline and unforced errors played into the visitors’ hands.

“Horowhenua came here with a big pack and we had a pretty simple message that we wanted to run them around but unfortunately the nature of the game, it was stop-start footy and we kept them in the game with scrums and penalties here and there and we couldn’t do what we wanted to do, which was move that ball wide and try and move those boys around,” Cranston said.

“There are no excuses, we didn’t get to play the game we wanted to do and they’re deserved winners.”

Wai-Bush weren’t helped with the late withdrawal through injury and illness of three of their better players from the opening two rounds – regular captain and loose forward James Goodger [hamstring], utility forward Sam Gammie [calf], and hooker San Siaosi [illness].

“No denying, we had a few injuries during the week in quite key positions and we had to pull a few guys in, who haven’t had a lot of game time in the top team set up but we should have done a bit better than that, but we couldn’t get our flow on and we were turning ball over too earlly.”

When the home side did manage to string some phases together and the backs had ball and space to work with, they looked impressive.

No 8 Jack Loader charges into the defence.

One such movement led to the try of the match. From a turnover deep inside their own half, second-five Tafa Tafa was given space. He passed to fullback Ben Brooking, who fed speedy winger Aseri Waqa, who drew the last defender to send first-five Aidan Champion over to close the score to 10-23 after 52 minutes.

The weight of playing with just 14 soon told though and the visitors extended the lead to 20 points with a try to fullback Keaton Kawana.

A try to Tafa besides the posts gave the home side some hope of rescuing a bonus point, but in the end the dearth of possession, basic schoolboy errors, and poor discipline let the team down.

One aspect where Cranston felt there was improvement from the previous weekend’s loss to Poverty Bay was defence, with the number of missed tackles drastically reduced.

“It’s a mindset thing and sometimes and it’s an extra half a step and getting up in that man’s face is the difference in making the tackle or not, and we had a focus this week on just trying cut down the space between the man and just trying to take them out,” he said.

The loss leaves Wai-Bush 11th in the 12-team competition and ends any hope of playing off for the Meads Cup, and Cranston said the team will target the Lochore Cup, for fifth- to eighth-placed teams.

“The focus now does become the Lochore and not just to salvage something out of the season but to play a bit of knockout footy at the latter end of the comp, but it’s not going to be easy, and we probably have to win at least four of the next five games.”

BRIEF SCORES

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush 17 [Tafa Tafa try; Aidan Champion try, con, pen; Ben Brooking con.] Horowhenua-Kapiti 33 [Keaton Kawana, Louis Northcott tries; Jack Tatu Robertson try, 3 cons, 3 pens; Tyler Tane pen] HT 3-16

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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