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Wahine Toa take another step up

Wairarapa Wahine Toa 22
Kia Toa 50

The scoreboard shows another heavy defeat, but Wairarapa Wahine Toa continue to improve from week to week in the Manawatū Premier Women’s Championship.

The result at the Solway Showgrounds was a significant step up from their first-round loss to Kia Toa, when they conceded 71 points, and coach Brent Gare attributes that to a better defensive effort.

“There was one stage where we went through 10 phases on our own line defending Kia Toa’s attack, which was remarkable for any team,” Gare said.

“Week on week, it keeps getting better, and it was a real good team performance.”

Gare “changed things up a little bit” for the game, switching usual halfback Darian Walker to first-five in place of Lisa Te Moananui, who moved to fullback. That gave Pippa Burgess-Smith a full 80 minutes at halfback, and Gare said the former Canterbury premier club player was outstanding.

Winger Nikita Herlihy, Walker, flanker Maia Svenson, and Te Moananui scored tries, earning Wairarapa their first point of the season.

The task doesn’t get any easier for Wairarapa on Saturday, when they face the unbeaten Old Boys Marist at the Solway Showgrounds, kicking off at 2.45 pm, and Gare wants further improvement from his young, inexperienced team.

“It’s definitely a season of learning and blooding new players, and with the amount of interest out there, there are players who want to come and play next year, so it’s all looking good,” he said.

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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