This is next-level.
The East Coast under 16s – at one stage in the second half reduced to 13 players by injury – fought incredibly hard v Wairarapa-Bush in their last game at the Hurricanes Youth Rugby Council tournament in Masterton yesterday. The home team beat the Coast 58-17.
The Coast’s try-scorers were openside flanker Teira Biddle and prop Corban Te Whaiti. Player-of-the-Day captain first-five Rewiti Fisher converted both tries and kicked a penalty. For their courage, the East Coast team yesterday won the Manakitanga Trophy – presented by Steve Gibbs in 2010 – for the first time. It is an award which recognises team culture and sportsmanship, and was won by Poverty Bay in 2011.
Manawatu Player-of-the-Day centre Dru Molesi scored two tries with one try each to his teammates loosehead prop Ezra Savea, hooker Felix Blundell, tighthead prop Caedman Hawkins, blindside flanker Tua Toilolo, halfback cum fullback Willie Matthews, first-five Amani Karauria-Lunt (also four conversions), right-wing Jayden Savea and fullback Jayden Webb-Milner.
East Coast captain Fisher said: “The boys made an exceptional match-effort against a very experienced team; we played to our strengths and gave it death. That’s what im most proud of – the never-say-die attitude of our boys.”