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Wai-Bush Heartland final hopes crushed

Tipene Haira kicked three penalties in the loss to Horowhenua-Kapiti. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Horowhenua-Kapiti 37
Wairarapa-Bush 14

“At the end of the day a better team beat us.” That was coach Mark Rutene’s succinct summary of Farriers Wairarapa-Bush’s loss to Horowhenua-Kapiti in Levin on Saturday.

The defeat ended any slight hope that Wai-Bush had of making one of the three finals in the Heartland Championship.

Wai-Bush had a fair share of possession and territory in the first half but failed to take their opportunities, whereas the home side made the most of theirs, running in two first half tries to winger Lennix Tovo, while the Green and Reds’ only points came from two penalties to Tipene Haira.

The second half started poorly for Wai-Bush with No 8 Joe Tako red-carded for a high tackle.

Horowhenua-Kapiti took full advantage of the depleted Wai-Bush side, scoring 17 points, including two converted tries in 20 minutes.

Wai-Bush did finally cross the line, with prop Lewis Bush scoring his fifth try of the competition. However, it was too little too late, as Horowhenua-Kapiti capped a comprehensive victory with their fifth try.

Rutene said Horowhenua-Kapiti were just too good on the day.

“Some of their import players were pretty classy. Kahn Fotuali’i, and their number 8 [Benedict Grant] was pretty good,” he said.

“Fotuali’i and Leon Ellison directed play well and when they got it out wide, they had some pace out there.”

Of the Wai-Bush players, Rutene said prop Tupou Lea’aemanu had a strong game, bounced off many defenders and made a lot of meterage. Bush was industrious, lock Andrew McLean was good in the lineout and around the paddock, while flanker Sam Gammie and centre Tafa Tafa turned in solid performances.

Wai-Bush finish their season on Saturday with a home game against a resurgent Ngati Porou East Coast, who are likely to have 103-test All Black Ma’a Nonu in their ranks.

BRIEF SCORES

Horowhenua-Kapiti 37 Wairarapa-Bush 14 [Lewis Bush try; Tipene Haira 3 pen]. HT: 15-6

Heartland Championship Provisional Points

South Canterbury 35; Thames Valley 33; Whanganui 25; Horowhenua-Kapiti 23; North Otago, Mid Canterbury 20; Poverty Bay 19; West Coast 16; East Coast 15; Wairarapa-Bush 10; Buller 2, King Country 1

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