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Club Rugby Report – 8 June 2019

Courtesy of the Greymouth Star
by Brett Kokshoorn

Kiwi had a convincing 43-5 win over fellow Hokitika side Wests in a top of the table local derby at Cass Square, on Saturday.

The game was played in a strong wind but that did not seem to trouble Kiwi playing into the wind in the first half and racking up 24 unanswered points.

The Wests’ performance was hampered by injuries, leaving them with 13 on the field by the end of the game. They lost two key players, Tayne Foster and Nathan Smith, in the first 20 minutes of the game. Smith could have been pivotal in taking tactical advantage of the strong wind behind his team, but ultimately failed to do in the first half. Further injuries did not help their cause, particularly losing one of their only two props, Jack Eason, five minutes before half-time, resulting in golden oldies scrums for the rest of the match.

Kiwi were obliterating the Wests scrum up to the change to golden oldies, often pushing the smaller Wests forward pack right off their own ball, and if the scrums kept going like that the winning margin could have been bigger. Kiwi played to their strengths and held the ball in hand, trying not to kick into the strong wind, and really tried to have a go and pass the ball around a lot.

The Kiwi pack was relentless all day, dominating set pieces, stealing a lot of Wests’ lineout ball. They dominated the breakdown and their forwards carried strongly all game, led by No 8 Logan Winter, who had a huge game to score two tries. Props James Tainui and Dan Foord set the platform and Kelly Rasmusen and veteran Brad Tauwhare were also prominent.

The Kiwi backs were at their usual clinical and enterprising best and they were directed well by Jared Ferguson at halfback and first-five Dan Tauwhare. Sean McClure and Nick Muir also had good games out wide.

Considering all the injury disruptions, to Wests’ credit they came back strongly in the first 15 minutes of the second half and managed to keep Kiwi to 19 points in that half. Wests enjoyed several periods camped on the Kiwi line and threatened to score, but each time they just came up short due to a combination of solid Kiwi defence and infringements or mistakes.

They did manage to score a consolation try in the dying minutes of the game as a small reward for their efforts, even though the scorer clearly lost the ball in the process, which was somehow missed by the referee.

For Wests forwards, Josh Tomlinson, Matt Johnson and Taewa Lilley battled all day, and in the backs Jeff Garland played well from halfback and centres Taylor Robinson and Max Linklater played up to their usual high standards.

Scoring got under way in the first half impressively as Kiwi drove a rolling maul 25m from an attacking lineout for a try to Logan Winter. Next, Winter went over for his second try after good breaks and yardage from McClure and Jamie Kearns. Kearns then scored after the Kiwi pack pushed Wests off their own scrum and the ball was spun out the backs. Muir converted with an impressive kick into the wind from 10m in from the touchline.

Kiwi could have scored several more times, not quite finishing promising attacks, but inevitably they went over for the final try of the half as Ferguson scored right next to the posts to make it 24-0 to Kiwi going into the break.

Wests came out in the second half playing into the wind but also playing better than they did with the wind in the first half. They enjoyed their longest periods of possession but when they got close on several occasions they lost possession under pressure from a solid Kiwi defence.

Kiwi eventually took back control through a Matt Olson try, created by good forward hit-ups after Kiwi countered from a loose ball in their own half.

Immediately from the following kick-off Winter then showed his offloading skills with a deft pass in traffic to Troy Tauwhare, who ran 30m deep into Wests’ territory, and from there the ball was spun out. With Wests at sixes and sevens on defence, there was a huge overlap for McClure to stroll over for the try.

Kiwis’ final try was scored as they spun the ball out wide again, a sweeping movement through the hands took the ball to the corner where they were nearly tackled out, but the ball stayed in play for Adam Baker to go over right in the corner.

Wests had the last say with a consolation try with minutes remaining by substitute player Kieran Black right in the corner. The ball was clearly dropped over the line in the scoring process and many spectators in close proximity were shocked to see it given, but in the end it would have had little bearing on the game as Kiwi took the win deservedly, 43-5.

Kiwi player-coach Troy Tauwhare said they started well and the forwards laid a good platform for the backs from the start. They got a bit too eager at times and forced passes.
Wests played well, especially as they were down to 13 at the end, he said.

But for Kiwi the whole forward pack played and carried well and gave them good go-forward ball. Jared Ferguson had a good game, although the whole team played well.
Wests coach Mike Foster said they lost key players early on but the team stuck to their guns and size-wise they were pretty hard to defend.

They came back in the second half, but it was a numbers game and they were struggling to get numbers. However, those on the field played well and he gave full credit to them.
Tomlinson, Taewa Lilley and Matt Johnson played well, and in the backs Taylor Robinson, Jeff Garland and Max Linklater stood out.

Kiwi 43 (L Winter 2, J Kearns, J Ferguson, M Olson, A Baker, S McClure tries, 1 con; N Muir 3 con)
Wests 05 (K Black try).

Blaketown travelled to Hari Hari to beat South Westland at home, 28-21.

Blaketown coach Brent Aitken said his team was more hungry for the win. They only had 17 players and he was impressed with all 17 of them.

Nathan Iafeta led from the front and was forwards player of the day, and first-five Eric Munro directed the backline excellently and was the backs player of the day.

South Westland played well and never gave up and he took his hat off to them, but on the day Blaketown were just more hungry.

South Westland coach Terry McBride sung the same tune. His team were down 21-0 at half-time and they were lethargic in the first half and turned over too much ball.

They performed better in the second half but Blaketown deserved the win and they wanted it more.

Forwards Lucas Syminton and Josh Coleman shone, and in the backs Jake Moore and Kip Nolan stood out.

Blaketown 28 (J Coleman, B Jackson, D Chiznui, B Cain tries, 4 con)
South Westland 21 (J MacRae, J Moore, C Nolan tries, 3 con).

In the other game on Saturday, Grey Valley demolished Marist 65-5.

Grey Valley 65 (F Robertson 2, S Libezeit 3, T Kearns, D Robinson, C Beech, H Manawatu, B Ferguson, T Joass tries, 5 con).
Marist 05 (O Varley Try).