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9th Sep: Heartland Rugby Win For Wanganui
Published: 09 Sep 2017 - - Author: David Ogilvie

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It was no day for a picnic, and so it proved when Wanganui battled to a 25-14 Heartland Rugby Championship win over lowly-rated Poverty Bay at Cooks Gardens today.

David Ogilvie reports:                       

On the face of it Wanganui made far too many errors to feel good about this win over Poverty Bay.

After leading just 8-7 at halftime after playing into the stiff breeze, Wanganui had good patches and plenty of average ones, caused  maybe by a growing anxiety about chasing the bonus point try - which stayed elusive to the end. There is also the fact they played a tough game a week ago on a mudheap and the legs might have been weary.

The excuse of the conditions today is a fair one - the ground was heavy, there was water on some areas, and the breeze made it awkward to kick well. But at the same time, with the notable exception of Ruapehu forward Campbell Hart, the players offered their first season starts in this game really failed to take advantage.

And when the usual starters came off the bench, they made mistakes, gave away penalties and didn’t take advantage of their chances either.

But a win is a win, the defence was powerful, and there remained the promise that if this team can get back on to a dry field with the sun on its back, that things will happen.

For example, Auckland loan player Jon Sawailau will be exciting to watch in such conditions.

Let’s hope it is like that in Timaru this coming Saturday, where Wanganui challenges one of it close challengers in South Canterbury. That team put Mid Canterbury away comfortably today and is obviously in good form - and there’s been precious little between the two teams in the past two seasons.

Buller and Horowhenua-Kapiti are the to teams with Wanganui on 13, with one point back to South Canterbury. These four have opened a gap already.

Today’s premier efforts for Wanganui came from Hart, who had a remarkable workrate while on, from No 7 Angus Middleton especially in the second half, and from No 8 Bryn Hudson.

Captain for the day Cole Baldwin had   a strong  start, Sawailau was much better i the secnd half and wing Simon Dibben was also  good.

Overall, a day to take the four points and run and concentrate on next week. This does present a challenge and maybe there was a slight element of “expecting” the win to just happen against a struggling Poverty Bay side.

And that will certainly not be the case this coming Saturday

Results:

Wanganui 25 (Craig Clare, Jona Sawailau, Gabriel Hakaraia tries; Clare 3con pen) bt Poverty Bay 14 (Jake Holmes, Andrew Tauatelavu tries; Tauatekavu, Isola Vuku cons). HT: Wanganui 8-7.

Other results:

Buller 33 North Otago 31, West Coast 32 East Coast 19, S Canterbury 31 Mid Canterbury 16, Horowhenua-Kapiti 13 Thames Valley 10, King Country 32 Wai-Bush 25.

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