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Old foes set up blockbuster final

RUGBY

Defending champions Carterton will play old foes Greytown in the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup final after two contrasting encounters. CHRIS COGDALE [in Carterton] and ROGER PARKER [in Greytown] review Saturday’s semifinals action.

Carterton 45
Pioneer 3

Carterton withstood a strong first half from Pioneer before pulling away for a commanding seven try to none victory in the mud at Carterton.

Most of the early pressure came from the visitors, who, with the aid of a stiff northerly wind, kept Carterton camped deep in the own half. It was only good defence that kept Pioneer out, a point not lost on victorious captain Daryl Pickering.

“Pioneer had a pretty strong wind in that first half and kept us down in that corner, but we worked hard on our ‘D’ in the last few weeks, and I guess that showed today. We were willing to give them the ball and back our defence,” Pickering said.

When Carterton did eventually break out, they made it pay with the opening try from a 5m lineout to hooker Terongo Tekii, who was playing his 50th game in the maroon and black.

Reece Calkin closed the gap to 7-3 with a penalty, only for Carterton to reply two minutes later from another 5m lineout, this time through Fijian lock Malaki Biumaiwai, who dived over for the first of his three tries.

Carterton’s dominance at set piece and a rampaging forward pack in the open began to pay off in the second half, and Pioneer had little answer to the relentless attack.

Two further tries to the barnstorming Biumaiwai and five-pointers to charging prop Tupou Lea’aemanu, second-five Fiula Tameilau, and fullback Ben Brooking wrapped up a convincing win in awful conditions, which made running rugby difficult, to say the least.

The big Fijian brothers Malaki and [blindside flanker] Isireli Biumaiwai were at the forefront of many of the charges, with lock Logan Wakefield and Lea’aemanu not far behind, while openside flanker Inia Katia was into everything, making tackles, forcing turnovers and creating attacks, seemingly from nothing at times.

“We worked hard up front, and our forward pack has been dominating these last two or three weeks,” Pickering said.

“Those brothers Isireli and Malakai have given us so much go forward on top of Tupou and Inia, and they’re just a handful.”

Halfback Pickering, Tameilau, centre Aseri Waqa, and fullback also stood out at times but had limited opportunities given the bog-like conditions.

Although convincingly outplayed in the second half, Pioneer never gave in, and the likes of openside flanker Himiona Haira, hardworking prop Ihe Namana, No.8 Jonte Miller, centre Nikora Ewe, and first-five captain Reece Calkin turned in strong performances.

In the end, though, Pioneer paid for the lack of a solid platform at scrum time and their poor lineout execution. Greytown 21
Marist 16

A superior scrum came to the rescue for the home team at a critical stage of an-times pulsating semifinal in Greytown.

With a handy wind at their back for the second half, Greytown were behind with 10 minutes to play after seeing what was a well-deserved halftime advantage stolen away by a rampant Marist.

After fluffing a couple of good chances to take back the lead, Greytown simplified their approach to better suit the slippery conditions and looked to their forwards to wrest back control and provide what would be the winning phase of the match.

It came on the back of an impressive 40m rolling maul that parked Greytown deep in the Marist 22. Greytown thought they had been awarded a try from a series of one-off drives from several mauls, only for referee Alistair Payne to change the call on advice from the assistant referee. However, his new ruling included a yellow card for Marist prop and co-captain Stan Wright Jr, and Greytown immediately played their trump card – a 5m scrum.

A valiant Marist, who had held out numerous raids on their line in the previous 15 minutes, didn’t have one more stand left in them, and Greytown demolished their pack in the ensuing scrum, giving Payne no option but to award a penalty try. It would prove to be the winning of the game and a ticket to this Saturday’s grand final.

Greytown captain Tana Issac summed up the key to finding a way back to the lead in typically uncomplicated fashion.

“We had to slow things down a bit. We were making mistakes because we were rushing and forcing the play rather than controlling it.

“Our scrum was going well, and we had plenty of go-forward, but we needed to settle and dictate the pace to get the job done. That rolling maul from a lineout set us up nicely, and the scrum did the rest.”

Greytown scored two first-half tries off the solid platform of that dominant scrum. Centre Nick Olson weaved his way to the line on the 10-minute mark, and openside flanker Riley Walton-Sexton strolled across untouched on the half hour. Marist managed just two penalties in the opening period for their efforts and faced an uphill battle into a stiff breeze for the second stanza.

They rose to the challenge right from the restart of play.

Right winger Hayden Cooper finished off a swiftly executed blindside move, calmly slotted the conversion from wide out, and suddenly it was a one-point game. The prospect of a championship final improved further just 10 minutes later when Cooper again stepped up and slotted his third penalty for the match to give Marist their first lead of the contest.

Greytown’s Joseph Te Naihi hit the post with one penalty attempt and sliced another to the right soon after. Greytown then tuned down a relatively straightforward shot at the posts and opted for a scrum close to the line, only to lose the ball in the tackle. Marist was starting to believe it was going to be their day.

Cue the rolling maul of the season and the penalty try.

Marist had one last crack at the Greytown line, and powerhouse prop Sam Siaosi went extremely close off a quick tap, but Greytown would not be denied their spot in the final.

As a mark of respect to their local community, Greytown played in their Papawai heritage jersey, which was unveiled earlier this year. The navy blue jersey with gold fern recognises the connection between the Papawai community and the Greytown Rugby Club and is based on the original Papawai Rugby Club jersey.

BRIEF SCORES

Carterton 45 [Malakai Biumaiwai [3], Terongo Tekii, Fiula Tameilau [2] tries, Ben Brooking try, 5 cons] Pioneer 3 [Reece Calkin pen] HT 14-3

Greytown 21 [Nick Olson, Riley Walton-Sexton tries, penalty try, Joseph Te Naihi 2 cons] Marist 16 [Hayden Cooper try, con, 3 pens]. HT 14-6

HODDER-STEFFERT CUP

Martinborough added the Hodder-Steffert Cup to the trophy cabinet, next to the Lane Penn Cup, after a 41-13 victory over East Coast at Trust House Memorial Park.

Martinborough scored seven tries to two to pull away for a convincing win in the final, played between the fifth and sixth teams in the premier championship.

WHATABOUTU
SENIOR RESERVES

There were no surprises with the top two sides Tuhirangi and Masterton Red Star to meet in the Ryan Cup final after hard-fought semifinal wins.

Defending champions Tuhirangi withstood a strong Greytown challenge before winning 33-7, and Stars were pushed hard by Pioneer, eventually prevailing 27-7.

The bottom four President’s Cup final will be contested between Marist, who held off East Coast 29-15, and Martinborough, upset 17-5 winners over Gladstone.

1 COMMENT

  1. Correct Carterton try scorers: Malakai Biumaiwai (3), Fiula Tameilau (2), Terongo Tekii, Ben Brooking.

Comments are closed.

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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