Uawa top second round too
They have all the cards.
Defending champions of East Coast club rugby Uawa added the Jury Harrison Memorial Trophy to the Kath McLean Memorial Trophy as winners of both the first and second rounds with their 59-5 win against Tokomaru Bay United on Saturday.
Uawa, as first qualifier for this weekend’s 1 v 4, 2 v 3 semi-finals, will host Hicks Bay in Tolaga Bay while Tihirau Victory Club — having beaten Hicks Bay 43-12 — awaits Hikurangi at Cape Runaway.
“Our boys did well and applied pressure at set-piece, plus our new midfield combination of Dion Koopu at second-five, Tawhao Stewart at centre, worked well,” said TVC captain second-five cum halfback Moana Mato.
Like Hicks Bay manager Graeme Summersby, Mato was also impressed by the standard of referee Edward Kawhia: “He was exceptional.”
Summersby said: “Coming into this game, we knew that TVC would look to maintain their momentum. The winning of it lay in their ability to do the simple things and their great start — they created overlaps, then had the pace to finish.”
At Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa, both teams played with enterprise: the players’ handling skills did not suffer as a result of rain overnight, while possession of the ball and field position was shared evenly by the teams.
The forward packs were fairly matched in size; the contest was clean, but very physical. Hicks Bay’s lock Ivan Martin won his team’s Most Valuable Player award for his good work at the lineout, hard defence and running with the ball in hand.
TVC outscored the visitors by seven tries to two, courtesy of their MVP lock Hirini Delamere (11th minute), Stewart (17m), Koopu (28m) and right-wing Ron-Paul McRoberts (34m) in the first half, as against Hicks Bay No.8 Anton King’s try in the 36th minute; TVC fullback Peti Delamere converted Stewart and Koopu’s tries, while Hicks Bay first-five Leyth Delamere converted the King try. TVC led 24-7 at the break.
McRoberts opened the second-half scoring 46 minutes in: Peti Delamere’s conversion made the score 31-7 to TVC. Dion Koopu (57m) then scored — with a conversion by Peti Delamere — for 38-7; TVC reserve left wing Mihaere Koopu scored in the 68th minute. Hicks Bay second-five Blue Walker’s try, in the 74th minute, was the last score, for Hicks Bay 12, TVC 43.
That’s two . . . and counting.
Hikurangi — “Te Maunga” (The Mountain) — has momentum. In Week 13, they beat a lively Hicks Bay 27-22 at Kahuitara; on Saturday, the men of the mountain bested Tokararangi 13-7.
Those victories at home provide Hikurangi with a good base for the 2 v 3 semi-final and just as importantly, this latest hard work-out with Tokararangi serves as good preparation for knock-out rugby.
Tokararangi’s Most Valuable Player was their halfback; an exciting talent in Moana-Jay Kenworthy.
Hikurangi’s MVP was hooker Ngarimu Parata (a 10-year man with the club), who along with loosehead prop Tahu Walker, starting tighthead prop Putahi Morice and reserve tighthead Winiata Blane, were superb against opposition of the calibre of veteran Hicks Bay rake Tina Waitoa.
“The scrummaging from both teams was very good,” said Parata. “At times, it was a fast game also.”
With this result, Hikurangi avenged their 27-26 loss at Te Araroa Domain in Week 7.
Captain of the Maunga, openside flanker Trent Proffit, opened the scoring at the 20 minute-mark; the hosts went right, the skipper went 7m to dot down in the corner. Thirty minutes in, Tokararangi No.8 captain Hone Haerewa scored; with first-five Slade Tiopira’s conversion, the visitors took a 7-5 lead to the break.
Morice kicked a penalty goal for 8-7 after 50 minutes of play; Hikurangi fullback David Manuel (58th minute) scored the third and last try of the match.
“It was an awesome game, our boys played their hearts out — as a captain that’s all you can ask for,” said Haerewa. “Hikurangi took control early and didn’t let up; they were hard, they were tough.”
Uawa rattled up nine tries and seven conversions in their 59-5 win v Tokomaru Bay at Hatea-a-Rangi, having led 34-0 at the break.
“It was a good last hit out for us before the semis — we got to try a few different combinations and rest a few key players,” said Uawa coach Tip Nukunuku. “I’m happy with the effort but hats off too, to Tokomaru Bay — they really got stuck in.”
Uawa’s Fale Toleafoa scored four tries, loosehead prop Laman Davies bagged a couple, with a try each to left-wing Tipene Meihana, centre Jordan Birch and reserve centre Storm Moran. Second-five Chris Richardson kicked seven conversions.
The visitors’ sole try-scorer was again their giant loosehead prop Gary Rangi. The big man has played with incredible heart this season: it was he who scored Tokomaru Bay United’s try v Hikurangi at Kahuitara on the day the ground reopened.
Tokomaru Bay United’s MVP was their No.8 Tupou Taliauli. Taliauli has been ultra-impressive this season and his body-on-the-line level of commitment for a team which has shown great grit, demands respect. Uawa’s MVP was crafty reserve loosehead prop Peter Crawford.
“Pete was awesome — he got back in there like he’d never stopped,” said Uawa game-day captain fullback BJ Sidney.
“I was happy with the way we hung in — against a team who had nothing to lose — and carried on with our game plan. Also, we defended our line for long periods in the second half.”
TBU captain first-five Matt Marino said: “Our forwards went well and the backs gave us some momentum — we just needed to retain a little bit more possession. But more importantly, the boys that were with us week-in, week-out were courageous. What made me proud during the season was that when we were down — and just about out — the boys said ‘If we start it, we finish it’.”
by Ben O’Brien-Leaf
Published: July 16, 2019 7:05PM