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Pace the name of the game

Jack Loader, with ball, will debut at No 8. PHOTOS/FILE

Loader gets debut at No 8

RUGBY

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush’s intention to play a fast-paced open style of rugby is apparent with coach Mark Rutene set to unleash three of the province’s exciting young talents against Poverty Bay in Gisborne today.

Aseri Waqa, scoring a try in the club final, will start at fullback for Wai-Bush after recovering from injury.

Flying Fijian fullback Aseri Waqa, who set the club competition alight with his counterattacking skills, is joined by Carterton clubmate Fiuala Tameilau and Marist’s Charles Mataitai, who showed enough in his Heartland debut against North Otago on Sunday, that he will be a real handful for opposition defenders – a prospect that captain James Goodger is relishing.

“It’s really exciting, we’ve got some really good young talent, so hopefully they put their hand up because it’s a long season for us and it’s an opportunity for them. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they all go,” Goodger said.

However, it’s in the engine room where Goodger stressed the team need to improve after a 5-35 opening round loss to North Otago in Palmerston North, after assistant coach Jamie Williams highlighted some serious weaknesses.

“He’s really good at video analysis, and he broke it right down, and it showed exactly why we couldn’t get any structure and much space, because we were too weak at ruck time, so we had to throw an extra person in the ruck which broke down the rest of play.”

Goodger said first-up defence was another area the team worked on in training, especially staying together and not having players shoot out of the line.

He is confident of improvement today, after strong finishes to the first half and second half in the loss to North Otago.

There are four changes to the forward pack, with impressive prop Doug Juszczyk and replacement hooker Ryan Wilson out with foot injuries, replaced by Tupou Lea’aemanu and Marist hooker Tua Levi on the bench.

Lock Will Porritt’s season is over after suffering broken ribs against North Otago, and is replaced by veteran Sam Gammie, who lacks the height of a genuine lock, but has a massive engine.

Eddie Cranston starts on the openside flank ahead of Logan Flutey, who drops to the bench, and Jack Loader will make his first-class debut at No 8.

The experienced Daryl Pickering starts at halfback, and Tafa Tafa comes into second-five to add solidity to the midfield.

An added incentive for both teams is the Bill Osborne Taonga will be up for grabs for the first time.

The trophy named after the Whanganui All Blacks legend is the Heartland equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield and was presented to Poverty Bay for winning last year’s fifth-sixth final. It is on the line in each of the holder’s home games.

Wai-Bush will roll out the Ko Wairarapa haka for the first time, with the team also planning to perform it before the Horowhenua-Kapiti, and East Coast games.

Like Wai-Bush, Poverty Bay suffered a first-round loss, going down 30-22 to King Country. Both teams need the win to boost their Meads Cup prospects.

Today’s game will be live-streamed on the Poverty Bay Rugby Union Facebook page, kicking off at 2.30pm.

Wairarapa-Bush team to play Poverty Bay:

Aseri Waqa, Charles Mataitai, Te Kahui Bishop, Tafa Tafa, Fiula Tameilau, Aidan Champion, Daryl Pickering, Jack Loader, Eddie Cranston, James Goodger [captain], Sam Gammie, Andrew Smith, Tolu Fahamokioa, Sam Siaosi, Tupou Lea’aemanu.

Substitutes: Tua Levi, Stan Wright Jnr, Logan Wakefield, Logan Flutey, Inia Katia, San Walton-Sexton, Tipene Haira, James Coburn.

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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