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Wai-Bush run riot

Inia Katia, with ball, makes the break which led to the opening try to Eddie Cranston, in support. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

WAIRARAPA-BUSH 55
BULLER 39

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush captain James Goodger was proud of the way the team finished a disappointing season with a nine-try drubbing of Buller at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

The home side went into the game with no prospect of making the Lochore Cup but could have a big say on the make-up of the semifinals by beating the eight-placed visitors.

Goodger was thrilled with the effort of his team, which saw them run in some outstanding tries, and then man up on defence when they had three players sin-binned, and at one stage were down to 13.

“We played with a bit of heart and a bit of pride and the call was to play for each other and I think we did that today,” Goodger said after the game.

“We were given license to run the ball and we executed once we got in their half, and at halftime, we had got in there six times and we scored five, so we capitalised.

“The call at halftime was to be careful with our discipline and we let that slip and that’s why we dropped to 14 and 13 players, but we managed to hold them out and I’m so proud of the boys.”

Wai-Bush’s intent to run the ball was evident from the kickoff when they launched an attack from inside their 22. That led to them conceding a penalty which Buller first-five James Lash converted.

Eddie Cranston crashes through the Buller defence for the second of his two tries.

The home side replied almost immediately with a try to flanker Eddie Cranston, who won the race to the ball in the in-goal after a superbly weighted kick from centurion Inia Katia. The little Fijian though was at fault a few minutes later when he was robbed of the ball by winger Iliesa Tora, who dived over for Buller’s opening try.

Two minutes later, Wai-Bush regained the lead when fullback Aseri Waqa finished off a nice backline move for the first of his three tries, and then big winger Charles Mataitai dotted down after second-five Tafa Tafa strolled through some feeble defence for a 17-10 lead.

The scores were soon level after Tora crossed for his second try and the fifth of the first 21 minutes.

A second try to Cranston, Tora’s hat-trick try, and a try to Wai-Bush hooker Sam Siaosi in the 41st minute wrapped up a helter-skelter first half.

A harsh yellow card to Jack Loader, when he appeared to wrap his arms in a tackle saw the home side start the second spell with 14 players.

That didn’t matter though as Waqa scored his second five-pointer, after running on to a beautiful short pass from first-five Aidan Champion. The flying fullback couldn’t stay out of the game and he completed his hat-trick with a try he started with an intercept inside his own half to give Wai-Bush a 43-27 lead after 50 minutes.

Waqa was, however, the next to feel the wrath of referee Nick Hogan from Hawke’s Bay when he was yellow-carded for a deliberate knockdown when he appeared to be clearly going for an intercept.

The home side were soon down to 13 when lock Sam Gammie was sent to the sideline for repeat infringements on defence. That opened the door for Buller to close the gap to 43-32 with a try to winger Sam Jope with 11 minutes to play, but tries to winger Fiula Tameilau after another superb break by Tafa, and to replacement hooker Ryan Wilson on fulltime capped an entertaining yet error-ridden performance by the home side.

There were too many basic errors for the match to be a classic, with some woeful lineout execution from both sides, while defence was clearly a secondary consideration for much of the game.

The game signalled the end of coach Mark Rutene’s two years in charge and his second tenure with Wai-Bush, a point not lost on Goodger.

“I’ve got so much respect for ‘Ruters’. He picked me when I was a scrawny 85-kilo lock back in 2011 and we had a crap year that year and credit to him we came back and made the Meads Cup in 2012. He’s stuck in there over the years and his heart lies with Wairarapa-Bush and he should be immensely proud of his achievements.”

Goodger also believes the team did not come up to their own high expectations, finishing a disappointing 11th of the 12 teams, with only two wins from their eight games.

“We had good camaraderie and I think the difference was if we could just get a little bit fitter and had a bit of accountability over the season we would have done a lot better,” he said.

Katia, who brought up his century against Ngati Porou East Coast the previous Saturday, was given a guard of honour by past players as he led the team on to the field, and a rousing haka at the conclusion of the game.

BRIEF SCORES

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush 55 [Aseri Waqa [3], Eddie Cranston [2], Charles Mataitai, Sam Siaosi, Fiula Tameilau, Ryan Wilson tries; Aidan Champion 4 cons, Tipene Haira con] Buller 39 [Iliesa Tora [3] Sam Jope, Jesse Pitman-Joass tries; James Lash 2 pens, 4 cons] HT 29-24

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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