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Wai-Bush no match for Centurions

Impressive Wai-Bush halfback Sam Walton-Sexton looks to gets a pass away under pressure. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

Wairarapa-Bush 10
Wellington Centurions 76

The Wellington Centurions were too big, too skilful, and too fast for Farriers Wairarapa-Bush in a Heartland warm-up match at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

Centurions, who are Wellington B in disguise, dominated possession and territory and ran in 12 tries, with six of those coming in the final 17 minutes when the home side ran out of puff.

The visitors opened the scoring after four minutes and had a 31-0 lead before Wai-Bush finally got on the scoreboard with a try to winger Tristan Flutey.

Replacement fullback Aseri Waqa added the second try 14 minutes into the second half to make the score 36-10, in what Wai-Bush coach Mark Rutene felt was his team’s best period in the game.

“We showed, in a 20-30-minute patch either side of halftime, that there’s something there but just trying to put it together for 80 minutes is our challenge, and trying to get fit,” Rutene said.

“They brought on 12 fresh players, who were as good as their starting players, and they were big, strong, and fast, and we just didn’t have the depth and we ran out of steam.

“When you have the weight of possession and speed and skill just coming at us, we were hanging on at the end.”

Wai-Bush’s prospects weren’t helped with injuries to centre Charles Mataitai, first-five Tipi Haira, and second-five Nikora Ewe forcing them from the field early in the match, while Flutey, new centre Te Kahui Bishop, and Waqa also succumbed to injury.

Rutene felt there were some positives though, with the lineout functioning well. However, he said the scrum struggled early but was much steadier after the injection of props James Coburn and Tolu Fahamokioa, and powerful Marist hooker Sam Siaosi in the second half.

He was also satisfied with some of the attacking play.

“When we got the ball and when we were getting runners on to the ball and putting guys into gaps, we were good, but it’s just adjusting from our club rugby to rep rugby pace and physicality.

“I suppose in the end our lack of fitness showed but I kind of knew that because a lot of club rugby teams had only been training once a week.”

Wai-Bush wrap up their preparation for the Heartland Championship against Wellington Samoans in Petone this Saturday.

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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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