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Waiapu win over Tokomaru

Along with surprises, NPEC club rugby throws up a one-way scoreline occasionally.

One such was Pango Productions Waiapu’s 41-0 victory over Tokomaru Bay United on Saturday.

Although the reintegrated Waiapu beat Ruatoria City 25-19 on Opening Day and drew 10-10 with Hikurangi (The “Maunga” — mountain) on May 21, a win on the scale of Saturday’s result was not thought to be on the cards.

At George Nepia Memorial Park, Waiapu racked up seven tries and held the visitors scoreless. They lead the competition going into Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

Waiapu were dominant at the weekend. Jesse Haenga, the victorious coach, was thrilled with the power his team used up front, that they kept their structure, and that they were then able to go wide — at pace.

Considering the Coast’s geography and logistics of travelling to train, that performance suggests off-field preparation and communication as effective as that seen on a great day for Waiapu players past and present at Windy Park.

For the second week in a row, bumper-to-bumper parking was the way of it.

Waiapu captain and tighthead prop Perrin Manuel won the toss and chose an end.

Manuel had reason to respect United’s match-effort under first-five Les Te Reo.

“They have a tough foward pack who never stopped playing — and they made us have to match that, defensively, for the full 80 minutes.”

The home team played into a slight southerly breeze in the first half.

In the 10th minute, openside flanker Will Bolingford scored the first try of his double, and in the 19th, right wing Phoenix Manuel scored. Halfback Hamuera Baker converted both tries for 14-0.

Centre Keelan Poi’s try in the 40th minute was not converted.

In the 51st minute, lock Niki Mita dotted down, and in the 60th, Bolingford completed his double.

Reserve lock Tripoli Poi, a great servant of Waiapu, in the 69th minute became the third forward to score a second-half try. None of them had been converted.

Baker converted hooker Grayson Mauheni’s try in the 79th minute for 41-0.

Blindside flanker Scott McNeil won the MVP award for the home team with Tokomaru Bay United coach Lisa Muller giving their award to fullback Uzziah Parata, who carried the ball well and was committed in defence.

by Ben O’Brien-Leaf
Published June 01, 2022 2:20PM