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Team punished for poor discipline

Referee George Haswell sends Joe Tako to the sin bin. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV


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Poor is the only word to describe Farriers Wairarapa-Bush’s heavy loss to Thames Valley in the opening round of the Heartland Championship.

Poor discipline and poor execution led to a poor outcome – a 10-42 defeat at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

The poor discipline had two players red-carded for dangerous high tackles, and a third sin-binned, all in a chaotic nine minutes early in the second half.

The first to feel the wrath of Canterbury referee George Haswell was replacement halfback Inia Katia, whose playing time lasted all of three minutes after he was sent off in the 51st minute for a high tackle on Thames Valley winger Tevita Halafihi.

Katia was joined on the sidelines by No 8 Joe Tako, who was shown a yellow card after he ran 20m to join the ensuing melee and pushed a Thames Valley player in the back.

Wai-Bush were well in the game at 10-18 down, and the discretions galvanised the 13 men, who lifted their defensive effort and denied the visitors.

That was until a moment of recklessness by James Pakoti saw the home side reduced to 12 men for two minutes.

The experienced hooker was shown a red card after his shoulder appeared to come into contact with the head of flanker Ben Stevens, who was knocked unconscious and lay prone on the ground for at least 10 minutes while he was treated.

Moomoo Falaniko, green centre, scores Wai-Bush’s only try, Andrew McLean, in headgear, points to the spot, and Jake Goodger, No 6, looks on.

The wealth of possession finally told on the home side and the Swampfoxes ran in four tries in the last 15 minutes to go with their two in the first half for a comfortable bonus -point victory.

The poor execution was simply the failure to do the basics well. Kick-offs out on the full, penalty kicks failing to make touch, not once but three times, simple knock-ons gifting the opposition prime attacking positions, and coughing up possession in wrong parts of the field.

Wai-Bush were made to pay for their first transgression after four minutes when a knock-on gifted the visitors an attacking scrum and fullback Telley Hemepo crossed wide out.

The teams traded penalties, before big prop Josh Kaho crossed for the first of his two tries after a quick tap penalty on the 22m from another Wai-Bush indiscretion.

The home side closed the gap to five points on halftime when winger Moomoo Falaniko burrowed over after a sustained period of attack, but that was as good as it got.

For Wai-Bush, flanker and captain Johan van Vliet was a colossus on defence and at the breakdown, forcing several turnovers.

Experienced lock Andrew McLean turned in another work horse effort at set piece and in the loose, while prop Lewis Bush, and blindside flanker Jake Goodger had their standout moments, but otherwise it was a second-rate effort against a Swapfoxes side, who were made to look good by Wai-Bush’s shortcomings.

Overall, it was a poor stop-start game, not helped by referee Haswell blowing more than 40 penalties.

It doesn’t get any easier for the green and reds over the next two weeks, with games away to traditionally strong provinces South Canterbury and Whanganui, and they are almost certain to be without Katia and Pakoti for those games and potentially more.


Farriers Wairarapa-Bush 10 [Moomoo Falaniko try, Tipene Haira pen, con] Thames Valley 42 [Josh Kaho [2], Telley Hemepo, Vakapuna Etoni, Luke Masirewa tries; Todd Doolan try, 2 pens, 3 cons] HT 10-15.

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