Tomorrow at 3pm, Ngati Porou East Coast aim to hit the ground running in their pre-season game against Thames Valley. The Coast-Valley clash will give Coast coach Wayne Ensor an early snapshot of where players – especially loan players – might fit in.
“I want to have a look at three loan players who are outside backs – Sailosi Vatubua (North Harbour), Epeli Lotawa (Morrinsville, Waikato), Morris Siliko (Ponsonby, Auckland) – and give our local boys who haven’t played for a while a run,” said Ensor, who is keen to see new captain Hone Haerewa show leadership, while old hands such as Player-of-Origin Perrin Manuel (Taradale, Hawke’s Bay) will give the Coast a hard edge up front.
“I’m really impressed with our forwards – Wyntah Riki, Scott Lasenby, Rikki Kernohan, Jack Richardson. Troy Para snr (assistant coach) and I will also make sure that our bench players rotate and get game-time. That’s very important to us as a group.”
Thames Valley and the Coast will play their last pre-season game at Rugby Park in Waihi to-morrow, and coach Matt Bartleet will have interesting things to take stock of. 65-game veteran Lance Easton, age 38 – who’s played the majority of his rugby on the right-wing, centre and at fullback – will at some stage (as he did in the Valleys 43-19 win v Taranaki development at Hawera last Saturday) move to the front-row.
“Last week we played well – we kept them out for the first 20 minutes, then we scored three tries in a row. Glorious day for rugby,” said Bartleet, who will have Chilean international tighthead prop Sergio Felipe Thames and Japanese player reserve hooker Shin Ouchi (Waihou club) reserve hooker on the bench.
“The Coast boys don’t take a backward step – we’ve got to stop the coast clicking and never give them space But if we do…”
The referee will be former Black Fern first-five Tararua’s Rebecca Mahoney (Wairarapa-Bush), 34, with assistant referees James Higgins (AR1) and Grant Prescott (AR2) of Thames Valley.
LIVE SCORING 11/08/18 at : https://www.facebook.com/EastCoastRFU/
NGATI POROU EAST COAST, 1-23: Hakarangi Tichborne, Wyntah Riki, Perrin Manuel, Scott Lasenby, Adam Ross, Rikki Kernohan, Jack Richardson, Hone Haerewa (captain), Sam Parkes, Ngarangi Haerewa, Fabyan Kahaki, Mangu Kemp, Sailosi Vatubua, Epeli Lotawa, Morris Siliko.
Reserves: Tim Barbarich, Te Teira Maxwell, CJ Fox-Campbell, Benny Haerewa, Teina Potae.
THAMES VALLEY, 1-21: Te Huia Kutia, Glen McIntyre, Siti Tupou, Cameron Dromgool, Connor McVerry, Brett Ranga (co-captain), Matt Hart, Alex Bradley, Matty Fisher, Reece Boughton, Harry Lafanuahi, Shawn Hill (co-captain), Sam McCahon, Lance Easton, Jesse Dodunski.
Reserves: Shin Ouchi, Sergio Felipe, Matt Rolston, Ben Vincent, Matiu Abraham, Cole Berridge.
By Ben O’Brien-Leef – Gisborne Herald