Wednesday, July 24, 2024
6.5 C


My Account

- Advertisement -

Strong finish gets Wai-Bush home

Wairarapa-Bush 30
Poverty Bay 24

Copthorne Wairarapa-Bush finished the stronger to come away with a confidence-boosting bonus point victory over Poverty Bay at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

The home side went into the third-round game determined to bounce back from their humiliating 50–3 defeat away to North Otago the previous weekend.

The initial signs were promising for Wai-Bush, and they took an early 8-0 lead through a Ben Brooking penalty and a try to Marcus Ale from a 5m lineout.

A try in the corner to Poverty Bay winger Tane Okuri, superbly converted by Kelvin Smith, closed the gap to 11–7 before a second Brooking penalty gave Wai-Bush an 11–7 lead after 17 minutes.

The visitors finished the half the better, taking advantage of the sin-binning of Wai-Bush centre Fiula Tameilau for a professional foul, with a penalty and a converted try to lock Jordan Kingi for a 17–11 lead at the break.

The second half, though, was all about the impact off the bench, and it was significant.

After the game stuttered along for 15 minutes, it came alive when replacement back Harry Eschenbach put through a beautifully weighted kick for winger Nikora Ewe, who outgassed two defenders and dived on the ball for the home side’s second try.

It was then Poverty Bay’s turn to play with 14 men after prop James Higgins was sin-binned for punching replacement hooker Lewis Bush and Wai-Bush made the visitors pay.

Fullback Aseri ‘Ace’ Waqa perfectly timed his run onto a flip pass from Sam Walton-Sexton and out-sprinted the defence to extend the lead to six points. Big Fijian Isireli Biumaiwai, who gets better with every game in the No. 8 jersey, sealed the win charging from a breakdown after a powerful tackle from replacement flanker Epeli Rayaqayaqa forced a turnover.

Poverty Bay scored a converted try to fullback Moses Christie under the posts in the final minute, but it was too little too late, and the home side celebrated a deserved victory, much to the delight of coach Reece Robinson.

“At the end of the day, we finished strong, and the guys that came off the bench made good impact, and that’s what we want from them,” Robinson said.

“We spoke about being a lot more direct early on in the game, and we definitely did that. We created opportunities, but there were several that we didn’t execute and punish them, but it’s pleasing to see what we worked on Tuesday and Thursday to put it out on the field, and it made a big difference.”

Outstanding for the home team were player-of-the-day, lock Logan Wakefield, who Robinson reckoned had his best game in the green and red, even chasing down an opposition back to stymie a try, while fellow middle-rower and captain Sam Gammie put in a typical no-holds-barred ‘Gammie’ shift.

Starting halfback Isaac Bracewell provided quick ball for the backs with his slick passing, and his second-half replacement Walton-Sexton was a constant menace to the tiring defenders with his probing runs around the fringes of second-phase play.

Hooker George Parke made a good fist of his debut start, and Bush was his usual menace at the breakdown when he came on, while veteran flanker Jared Hawkins had a strong game after coming on for the injured Ale after 15 minutes. Eschenbach also impressed with his speed and creativity until he was forced off with a hip flexor injury.

“It was good to see us pull away because it was a very tight game until the last 10 minutes,” Robinson said. “We were really confident before the game, and the good thing about this group is we have a fantastic culture and win or lose, we’re still here to work hard and become better players on and off the field, and the team is pretty stoked.

“Everyone played their part, and now we just have to shift our focus to Horowhenua-Kapiti.”

The win lifted Wai-Bush to equal fifth in the Heartland Championship race.

They also lifted the Jeremy David Memorial Cup, which is played for between the two unions in memory of David, who represented both provinces.

Brief Scores
Wairarapa-Bush 30 [Marcus Ale, Nikora Ewe, Aseri Waqa, Isireli Biumaiwai tries, Ben Brooking 2 pens, Fiula Tameilau 2 cons] Poverty Bay 24 [Jordan Kingi, Tane Okuri, Moses Christie tries; Kelvin Smith 3 cons pen] HT 11-17

Other Heartland Results
East Coast 38 North Otago 29, Mid Canterbury 43 Horowhenua-Kapiti 14, South Canterbury 56 Buller 0, West Coast 22 Thames Valley 30, King Country 23 Whanganui 17

South Canterbury 15; Thames Valley 14; North Otago, East Coast 11; West Coast, Wairarapa-Bush 10; Poverty Bay, Whanganui 7; Mid Canterbury 5; King Country 4; Buller 1; Horowhenua-Kapiti 0.

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.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
overcast clouds
6.5 ° C
6.5 °
6.5 °
85 %
85 %
8 °
12 °
14 °
15 °
14 °