Peter Jones

Peter Jones

Harrison Somerville, right, will contest the lightweight men’s double at the world champs. Photo: Rowing NZ.

Rowers ready to take on world

Marlborough-based rowers will be primed and ready when the World Rowing Championships begin in Linz, Austria next week.

The champs run from August 25 until September 1 and provide the opportunity for international rowers to not only pick up world titles, but also to qualify their country’s crews for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

Rowers allied to Marlborough clubs Wairau and Blenheim include single sculler Robbie Manson; Tom Murray, who races the men’s pair alongside Michael Brake; Harrison Somerville, in the men’s lightweight double with Matt Dunham; Ian Seymour, part of the men’s four; Ella Greenslade, a member of the women’s eight; and Kirstyn Goodger who will crew the women’s quad.

Also in contention to taste the action in Linz is Angus McFarlane, a late call-up to the men’s reserves for the world champs.

Wairau’s Sophie Mackenzie, previously selected in the women’s lightweight single scull for the 2019 season, will not compete due to injury.

Somerville is excited about the forthcoming challenge.

“Our build-up has been going really well,” he said. “We have been seeing a lot of promising speed.”

“Emotions for now are pretty calm. We still have some time to train so I am mainly trying to stay calm and focussed on being as well prepared as I can be for the regatta.”

Marion Horwell, from the Central Rowing Performance Centre, based in Marlborough, will coach the women’s four, while Mark Stallard, Central RPC head coach, takes care of the men’s quad.

The NZ team will comprise 53 athletes and 17 support staff, joining nearly 1200 athletes from 80 nations.

Members of the BV Bullets side (some absent): Back, from left, Maggie Lane, Destiny Aires, Ruby Smith, Erin Mustey, Rebecca Stuart, Shanz Aires, Lucy Martin, Lauren Sloan, Freya Thompson, Ruby Wybourne and Jordyn McKay. Front, from left, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen and Tessa Hyland. Photo: Supplied.

Bullets conclude strong debut season

The Blenheim Valley Bullets football team wrapped up what was described as “an excellent debut season” in the Nelson women’s first division league at a rain-swept A and P Park on Saturday.

In their final hit-out, against FC Nelson on a muddy, unpredictable pitch, they turned in another gutsy effort before going down 2-1, the result decided by a very late and rather fortunate goal.

The home side came out firing, and within 10 minutes had the lead through Tessa Hyland.

In the second half, the balance of play was even before, with 15 minutes to play, Nelson FC forced a corner and their striker Grace Roche equalized.

Both sides had clear-cut chances to bag the winner, but it was the visitors who had the final say, when they scrambled the ball over the line almost on fulltime to take the spoils.

The BV midfield, particularly Ruby Smith, Hyland and Lauren Sloan, were outstanding while the backs worked hard as a defensive unit throughout. Freya Thompson and Lea Poletti contributed some sparking attacking runs. Player of the day was Abby Owen who was solid on defence and also countered with some great attacking play.

The previous week Bullets scored a notable 3-2 win over Nelson Suburbs at Saxton Fields.

Down 2-1 at halftime, Bullets showed their character with a confident passing game, which led to mounting and sustained attacks on goal. Rebecca Stuart and Abby Owen added the final two decisive goals while BV’s back three and sweeper excelled, holding out a series of strong Suburbs’ attacks.

BV players to standout were Ruby Wybourne, for her great crosses and incisive runs, plus Hyland and Sloan who combined well in the midfield to stymie Suburbs’ attack and create opportunities up front.

Player of match was defensive midfielder Smith who shut down lots of Suburbs attacks on goal and provided quality ball when BV went forward.

The Bullets finished fourth on the six-team Nelson women’s div one table, picking up four wins and three draws.  They were coached by Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy.

The Red Devils team and supporters celebrate victory over their Tasman Griffins rivals on the Lansdowne Park No 6 ground on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Devils lock Seddon Shield away for summer

Rugby’s prized Seddon Shield will spend a second summer in Marlborough after the Tasman Red Devils produced a compelling display of wet-weather rugby to beat the Tasman Griffins 21-7 at Lansdowne Park on Saturday.

The Griffins shot out to an early 7-0 lead, courtesy of a Devils’ mistake, but that was the extent of their scoring as the shield holders produced a hungrier display, applying pressure at the breakdown and forcing the visitors into regular errors.

By halftime the Devils led 8-7, courtesy of a try to hooker Billy Collins who was on the back of a lineout drive.

The hosts raised the stakes in the second spell, early pressure resulting in a Corey Bovey penalty and an 11-7 advantage.

Midway through the half he repeated the dose, widening the Devils’ lead to seven points.

The Griffins responded, but were met with enthusiastic defence before the hosts regained field position, replacement midfielder Mike Vaeno bursting through the middle of a scrappy breakdown and dotting down between the uprights.

Bovey’s conversion meant the Griffins needed to score three times to claim the shield, a draw being of no use to the challengers. But by then all the momentum was with their opponents, who continued to harass their rivals at every opportunity and were well on top when the final whistle blew.

Outstanding for the inspired holders were Collins, skipper Seymour Lambert, hard-carrying lock Isaiah Miller, No 8 Jesse MacDonald, flankers Braden Stewart and Taine Cragg-Love, halfback Ben Finau, Bovey, midfielders Jake Cresswell and Ben Filipo, plus Vaeno latterly.

The Griffins were well led by loosie Tim Sail, while fellow flanker Jacob Norris was busy. Locks Tim Dallison and Hopo Taufa, prop Sosefo Vaka, first five Sam Briggs, who kicked accurately in the first spell, plus winger Jamie Spowart stood out for the challengers.

Devils’ coach Mark Stewart said he felt his side were in control for much of the match.

“We made a couple of silly mistakes at the start, maybe a few little nerves there … but the boys stuck to what we wanted to do and they played for the full 80 … Marlborough has always played with pride and passion in the jersey, it means a lot to those guys.

“The boys were just up for the challenge. We had trained well through the week … it’s always a test match between Marlborough and Nelson and our boys were hungrier today which was really pleasing. I’m really proud of them and we’ve got the shield for another season.”

The home side’s skipper, the veteran Lambert, described it as one of the best rep performances he had been involved with, especially after their loss the previous weekend.

“After getting such a pizzling from Buller last weekend, then coming back, regrouping and putting on a performance like that today … it just goes to show that the shield still means a lot to the players and the people round here.

“Since I have been involved with Marlborough rugby that was probably the best, most complete performance from a Marlborough team. And it certainly came at a good time … against a good Nelson team full of players who could really bring some venom.

“To come back from that Buller game, just seven days later and put up a performance like this makes me really proud of the guys.”

Griffins’ coach Billy Guyton was quick to take defeat on the chin, agreeing that the Devils were the better side on the day.

“Definitely, they put big pressure on the breakdown and it was great how they were able to change their game. They adapted better than we did … we put ourselves under pressure and they thrived in that situation.

“It was a reasonably good challenge … but they played in the right areas and once we were under scoreboard pressure little mistakes began to build into bigger errors.”

Red Devils 21 (Billy Collins, Mike Vaeno tries, Corey Bovey 3 pens, con) Griffins 7 (Rahiri Witehira try, Sam Briggs con). HT: 8-7.

Liam Duncan’s kicking game was instrumental as MBC downed St Andrew’s College in Christchurch on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

Falcons fly into rugby final

The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV booked a place in the University of Canterbury Plate final with a decisive 30-13 win over St Andrew’s College in Christchurch on Saturday.

In a continuation of MBC’s late season revival, the Falcons built a 22-8 halftime lead playing into the wind, then restricted their rivals to a single second half try.

MBC’s five tries were scored by Keelan Murrell, who bagged two, Monu Moli, Lotu Solomona and Ollie Lawson, while Murrell landed a conversion and Dylan McManaway booted a late penalty.

MBC head coach Matt MacDougall said he was “really pleased with the boys”, especially in inclement weather conditions.

“”They executed the game plan perfectly. Just played good wet weather rugby. The pack just took on a big STAC pack up front and beat them up really.”

MacDougall said forwards Ollie Lawson and Bayley O’Hagan had shown the way up front, providing momentum and freeing up space for others. He also praised the work of halfback Ryan McLeod and first five Liam Duncan whose “kicking game was just superb”.

A blight on the day’s celebrations was a serious cheekbone injury to Te Ariki Peipi, the in-form hooker expected to be out for the rest of the season.

MBC have now strung five consecutive wins together since thrashing Waimea 73-7, the confidence beginning to flow through the team.

MacDougall said they had struggled against some of the bigger sides in the middle of the competition, “which knocked us a bit, and it just took that big win against Waimea before the break to get trust in what we were trying to do”.

“We also had a couple of key guys come back and now the whole side is playing with confidence, believing in everything they are doing. You can feel it throughout the whole group.”

The Falcons will meet Rangiora High School in the final this weekend, also away from home. Rangiora downed St Thomas 24-17 on Saturday to claim a place in what is effectively the fifth/sixth play-off.

A win over Rangiora would be satisfying for the MBC camp, MacDougall admitting the side’s round-robin losses to them and St Andrew’s had hurt the most.

“Rangiora are a team we would love to have another crack at, so it’s quite fitting that we play them in the final.

“I’m rapt with how we have finished the season, regardless of the result next week, but I am 100 percent confident we can get the job done, although we are on the road again next week.”

Meanwhile, Nelson College will host the UC Championship final after battling past Christ’s College 16-10 in the semi played at Nelson College on Saturday. They will meet Christchurch BHS, also in Nelson, next week after they accounted for St Bede’s College 42-32.

The UC Bowl final, for ninth and 10th, will be between Lincoln Combined and Shirley BHS.

Livewire halfback Finlay Christie superbly guided the Mako around Christchurch’s Orangetheory Stadium on Sunday. Photo: Shuttersport.

OPINION: Canterbury given a taste of their own medicine

If Tasman rugby fans were wondering if their side is the real deal in 2019 – they can begin to believe.

Sometimes fond early impressions flatter to deceive, with subsequent outings bringing supporters quickly back to earth. However, on the basis of the Mako’s showing in Christchurch on Sunday, there is more than enough cause for optimism.

Their efforts, at probably the toughest NPC venue in the country to leave with a positive outcome, will warm the hearts of the top of the south fraternity who, too often in recent times have had to bow the knee to the Red and Blacks.

Sure, one swallow (or even two) does not make a summer, but the 23-7 result, coupled with the positive style and creativity the Mako brought to the table, suggest a feast of rugby is about to be set before the Tasman faithful.

Against Canterbury, surely still the yardstick for provincial excellence despite losing the NPC final to Auckland last year, Tasman turned the tables.

They were more clinical than their hosts, more aggressive and effective at the breakdown, kicked more accurately and chased better, applied massive pressure at set piece and subsequently “bossed” the game. In other words, “they did a Canterbury on Canterbury”.

The familiarity between the sides, through the Crusaders connection, means there are few secrets any more. Players talk of “nailing the one percenters”, and there was no doubt who dominated those small margins on Sunday.

The advantages created by the fact Tasman won so many of the “little battles” meant they were able to play with creativity and express themselves. A couple of wide, quick passes gave boom winger Leicester Faingaanuku enough time to make the most of an opportunity on the left, scoring the try of the match. Hard yards in front of the ball enabled Shannon Frizell to score at the tail of a rolling maul.

The Mako players’ work in the air chasing halfback Finlay Christie’s pinpoint box kicks offered a point of difference, making the Canterbury defence retreat and creating momentum.

Mako co-coach Clarke Dermody said Blenheim-based skills coach Gray Cornelius had been putting in a lot of work with the halfbacks to ensure their box kicking was on point and it had certainly paid dividends.

While acknowledging the fact that winning in Christchurch is never easy, Dermody suggested his side had “left a few points out there as well”.

The tough task-master found it hard to compare Sunday’s outing with his side’s opening round 45-8 win over Wellington, given the more favourable weather conditions.

“We were able to play a bit faster today. The game opened up a lot more than last week, but we still need to nail some of our execution under pressure.”

He was pleased with the way the Mako set pieces went, plus the goal line defence which limited Canterbury to a single long-range breakout try.

“They were some big moments. If we had let them in there the game could have changed. I’m happy with how the boys got stuck into it.”

A feature of the Mako game this season has been an ability to adapt their game plan to suit the situation, something Dermody puts down to a growing level of experience within the group.

“Whilst a lot of them are still young men, some of them have been with the team for four or five years now. That means they have been in some pressure situations and we can rely on them to make very good decisions on the field.”

A slight hiccup in today’s display was the teams’ inability to nail a fourth try and a bonus point, especially given the chances they created, something Dermody described as a ”work-on”.

“We’ll look at that during the week and try to rectify that for Manawatu”, he warned ominously.

The Turbos are next on the Mako radar, with that match scheduled for Blenheim at 2.35pm on Saturday.

Manawatu will be desperately looking at ways to derail the Tasman train, but will have their work cut out against a confident, motivated outfit who can smell blood in the water.

Scorers from Sunday: Tasman 23 (Levi Aumua, Leicester Faingaanuku, Andrew Makalio tries, Mitch Hunt con, 2 pen) Canterbury 8 (Josh McKay try, Brett Cameron pen). HT: 18-3.

Mitre 10 premiership standings (as at August 20): Tasman 9, Auckland 8, Counties Manukau 7, Waikato 5, North Harbour 4, Wellington 3, Canterbury 2.

Championship standings: Bay of Plenty 10, Taranaki 9, Hawke’s Bay 8, Otago 5, Northland 4, Manawatu 1, Southland 0.

The victorious Central Pirates crew. Photo: Peter Jones.

Pirates prevail in Knockout Cup final

Central Pirates made it back-to-back Knockout Cup wins when they downed Rangers AFC 2-1 in the final at A and P Park on Friday night.

Pirates turned in a disciplined, composed performance to take out the Marlborough Football Association’s major elimination competition for the second year running.

Playing under lights after the match was shifted from its usual Saturday date, they took an early lead. After just five minutes a free kick from a central position was parried away by Rangers keeper Arthur Morel but only as far as Pirates’ winger Shane Evans who made no mistake, guiding the ball into the left hand corner.

Rangers immediately lifted their game, finding space on both flanks through Scott Denmark and Sam Pearson, but were unable deliver enough quality ball into the centre to allow prolific striker Adam Rose a chance to equalise, although he did draw a good save out of Pirates keeper Amon McGregor midway through the half.

The experienced Central back four of Dave Turner, Andrew McCaa, Matt Goldsworthy and Nick Rayner were organised, energetic and efficient, denying their rivals space and time in possession.

Trailing by just a single goal at the break Rangers were quickly into their stride and pulled the scores level after 50 minutes, picking up a similar goal to their rivals’ earlier effort. McGregor was unable to hold a stinging shot from the left and Rose strode forward to bury the rebound.

With the match tied up, both sides pushed forward looking for the winner and it was Central who made the breakthrough 15 minutes later. A superbly-flighted corner kick from Jordy Columbus on the right dipped and curled into the top of the Rangers goal, slipping through the keeper’s hands and glancing off the head of Rayner into the back of the net.

Perhaps surprisingly, Central did not sit back and defend for the final quarter, instead pushing forward in pursuit of a third goal, with hard-running striker Chris Turkington finding more space as his opponents pressed at the other end.

With Sam Boyce and Columbus bustling and busy in midfield Pirates were able to deny vital possession to an increasingly-frustrated Rangers side, who began to push hopeful passes as the final minutes ticked by.

Martin and Julian Delgado, Connor Endersby, Pearson, Rose and George Bond toiled hard, especially after the loss of Ollie Saunders with a hamstring strain early depleted the Rangers’ strike force.

Unfortunately for Rangers, there were to be no last-gasp heroics, leaving Pirates worthy winners on the night.

Their big-match experience shone through, providing clear decision-making mixed with solid, no-frills football.

Central spokesman Andrew McCaa was happy to bag a second consecutive Knockout Cup, suggesting his side’s more physical approach paid dividends.

“We really wanted the 50/50 balls a bit more. We had a really good game plan where we sat and let them come at us … and then we broke and scored a couple of really good goals.”

Although Rangers were able to level the scores early in the second half, McCaa felt his side were generally in control.

“I still though we were playing alright [when they equalized]. They didn’t get many opportunities and, although they took the one they got, I felt we had the best defence on the day … we felt secure at the back and it didn’t feel like they were going to break out at any stage. Guys like Dave [Turner] and Nick [Rayner] have played thousands of games so they have been-there, done-that before. It’s great to go back-to-back.”

Scores: Central Pirates 2 (Shane Evans, Nick Rayner) Rangers AFC 1 (Adam Rose). HT: 1-0 Central.

Due to bad weather, the other Knockout finals due to be played last Saturday were deferred. The KO Shield match will be contested at 6.30pm, Thursday, while both the Bowl and Plate finals will be played at 12.30pm on Saturday.

Harlequins’ wing attack Maighan Watson fires the ball into the circle during Tuesday’s game against Pelorus. Photo: Peter Jones.

Two teams clinch semifinal spots

Two of the semifinalists in the Marlborough premier netball competition were decided at Stadium 2000 on Tuesday night, with three sides left to scrap for the remaining two places.

Pelorus and Tokomaru will contest the play-offs, no matter what eventuates in the final week of round robin matches next Tuesday.

Pelorus made sure of their place with a 47-39 victory over Harlequins, who are now locked in a three-way battle for the final play-off positions with SMOG and Marlborough Girls’ College, whose upset 65-63 victory over Tokomaru kept them in the title hunt.

Awatere are the only side who definitely won’t be featuring in the semis, despite picking up a bonus point in their 57-52 loss to SMOG on Tuesday.

As has been the case over the past month, results were unpredictable last week, teams paying a hefty price for small lapses in concentration and intensity.

Tokomaru, fresh from a morale-boosting win over Pelorus last week, were punished for a slow start against a revitalized MGC team.

Trailing by nine going into the final quarter Toko finally found their rhythm, clawing back seven goals as the students began to falter with the finish line in sight, but came up short.

MGC were able to create pressure on the ball meant for Toko’s formidable shooting duo of Haze Tepuia and Gemma Hika, picking up enough turnovers to build momentum. At the other end, Anna Gardiner and Taila Town both converted at a high percentage to ensure Toko’s mistakes were punished, Gardiner often scoring from long range.

Athletic midcourters Mya Wiapo and Eleri James-Sitters were influential in slowing Toko’s flow, along with circle defenders Olivia Robinson and Oakley Tepuia.

The Picton side were far from their ruthless best, but Brooke Horton stood out on defence, along with Savannah Lawrence, while Kayla Wilson glided through midcourt and fed the circle well.

If Toko were left rueing a slow start, Harlequins were even tardier out of the blocks.

Down by 12 at halftime they had reduced the margin to eight by the final whistle but overcoming the early deficit was always going to be a problem against such as efficient outfit as Pelorus.

The midcourt trio of Kelsie Fitzpatrick, Jenna Gilbert and Jordan Peipi gelled well, while the return of Oriana Houra in defence added options at the back, alongside the ever-reliable Courtney Taufa.

Paige Lovell carried the majority of the shooting load, putting up 80 percent of her side’s shots, many from distance.

Quins were well served by wing attack Maighan Watson, who never stopped trying, shooter Lauren Murray and their long-limbed defender Jackson McLaren.

The evening’s final match also looked headed for a decisive outcome after SMOG, perhaps stung by their last-round loss to the Tussock Jumpers, pulled away to a healthy seven-goal lead at the first break. With mobile shooters Kate Gaudin and Lucy Barrett regularly hitting the target and the experienced Bonnie Morris directing traffic at the back, they seemed well in control.

But Awatere have proved they are made of stern stuff of late and the shared the second quarter, then took out the third by seven goals to level the scores at 39-39 heading into the final 15 minutes.

However, their recovery merely signaled another SMOG spurt, the Ladies in Black producing a 12-4 run to begin the last stanza and create enough distance between the sides to allow them a relatively comfortable buffer when the final whistle blew.

Wing attack Ella-Rose Hammond, centre Mereana Ave and wing defence Jesse Volavola were instrumental in SMOG’s late revival, while middies Nicole Witterick and Courtney Ryan, plus the indefatigable Aimee Jones and the accurate Tracee Lee shone for Awatere.

 

Scores:

Marlborough Girls’ College NZ King Salmon 65 (Anna Gardiner 39/47, Taila Town 26/28) Tokomaru Crafar Crouch Picton 63 (Haze Tepuia 50/55, Gemma Hika 13/19). Quarter scores (winning team first): 15-16, 19-12, 17-14, 14-21.

Pelorus Edridge Contracting 47 (Paige Lovell 42/58, Laura Murphy 5/14) Harlequins Radich Law 39 (Lauren Murray 18/24, Liv Hodson 15/20, Hayley Marfell 6/6. Quarter scores: 14-9, 14-7, 12-11, 7-12.

SMOG Good Home 57 (Lucy Barrett 18/22, Kate Gaudin 39/45) Awatere 52 (Tracee Lee 17/21, Aimee Jones 35/44). Quarter scores: 15-8, 13-13, 11-18, 18-13.

Round three standings: Tokomaru 10, Pelorus 10, SMOG 7, Harlequins 6, MGC 6, Awatere 3.

Next week: Harlequins v SMOG; Pelorus v MGC; Tokomaru v Awatere. Semifinals on August 27 (Tuesday), final on September 7 (Saturday).

Liam Squire was a powerful force as the Mako rolled over Wellington on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

Mako unleash their own thunder and lightning

The Tasman Mako matched the thunder and lightning rolling around Lansdowne Park on Saturday afternoon with a storming performance to kick off their Mitre 10 Cup season in style.

A handy Wellington side was put to the sword in convincing style, the home side defying the inclement conditions to cross for seven tries, while restricting their opponents to a paltry eight points through some bone-crunching defence.

As an opening performance, it would be hard to ask for more from the Mako. With players coming into camp from different combinations, with varied mind-sets and limited time together, it would be easy to excuse a rusty, error-prone effort.

But this was a clinical showing, the home side setting the tone in the first quarter. Their forwards bossed the breakdown, ruled at scrum time and made big metres through lineout drives, leading to tries by Liam Squire, whose physical presence has been missed, Andrew Makalio and Tyrel Lomax.

Midfielder Alex Nankivell cuts back through the Lions’ defence. Photo: Shuttersport.
Midfielder Alex Nankivell cuts back through the Lions’ defence. Photo: Shuttersport.

Eager chasers allowed the Mako to employ an effective kicking game, playing ball in their opponent’s territory, forcing mistakes from a clearly rattled capital crew.

Just when the Lions began to gain some belief it was snatched away through a game turning point. After cleverly creating a clear try-scoring opportunity on the right wing the final pass was intercepted by Mako skipper David Havili who sprinted 80m to score a “14-point try”, bagging his side’s bonus point and shutting the door on any hopes Wellington had of heading for halftime with momentum.

Interestingly, if Havili had not managed to reel in the intercepted pass cleanly it is likely he would have spent the next 10 minutes in the sin bin as Wellington were odds on to score, but fortune favoured the brave skipper.

As expected the Lions came out with renewed determination after oranges, but were again met by resolute defence, led by workhorse Ethan Blackadder who has obviously returned to camp with a desire to play big minutes after being sparsely used by the Crusaders. In the same camp are inside backs Finlay Christie and Mitch Hunt, who both relished their starting roles and opportunity to shift the team around the park with well-placed kicking.

It wasn’t a day for outside backs but Havili and Will Jordan did everything asked of them under Wellington’s aerial bombardment.

However, it was a day for cohesive, ruthless forward play and Andrew Goodman got just that as he racked up his first NPC win as Mako co-coach.

“I thought the boys adjusted well to the conditions … we saw earlier in the week that the rain was probably going to come in so we talked about that contestable kicking game, using our strength up front, with our driving lineout and scrum to really take it to them. The boys up front really laid a good platform.”

The home side’s game plan also contributed to a low error rate from the Mako who were content to shift the pressure of ball retention to their rivals. “We were comfortable without the ball … putting them under pressure in the air then trusting our defence, we didn’t try to play long phases with the ball, especially in the first half.”

Although well aware that the Mako have now drawn a decent-sized target on their back with such a dominant performance against one of the more-favoured sides in the premiership, Goodman knows it is only a start.

“We prepared really well but we are going to have to do that again this week heading into Canterbury [Sunday in Christchurch, 2.05pm kick-off] … there is strength right across this premiership.”

Goodman was especially happy with the efforts of flanker Sione Havili, “very busy on D”, Havili “who led from the back”, plus Christie and Hunt who he felt “controlled the game well”.

“The whole team trained well all week so to transfer it onto the field is a great feeling.”

Wellington head coach Chris Gibbes was obviously not feeling so up-beat.

“They kicked our arse, that’s basically what’s happened”, he said immediately after the match.

“They put pressure on us in the first half and we didn’t respond, in the second half there were patches when we were better but when the skill level lets you down like it did for us, against a clinical team like Tasman you are going to pay, and that’s what happened.

“They are a top four team so we have to make sure we take our medicine and learn from it.”

Scorers:

Tasman 45 (Leicester Faingaanuku 2, Liam Squire, Andrew Makalio, Tyrel Lomax, David Havili, Te Ahiwaru Crikidaveta tries, Mitchell Hunt 5 cons) Wellington 8 (Alex Fidow try, Garden-Bachop pen). HT: 26-3.

The Red Devils will put the Seddon Shield on the line against the Tasman Griffins on Saturday in Blenheim. Photo: Peter Jones.

Red Devils beaten in Murchison

The Tasman Red Devils produced a below-par warm-up for their Seddon Shield defence next weekend when they went down 41-26 to Buller in Murchison on Sunday.

The Devils will defend the symbol of top of the south rugby supremacy against the Tasman Griffins at Lansdowne Park on Saturday.

Although on home turf, they will enter the match as underdog after the Griffins downed Buller comfortably the previous weekend to earn a crack at the trophy, the same weekend that the Devils beat West Coast to retain the silverware.

On Sunday, Buller came home stronger in wet and windy conditions, scoring a couple of late tries to inflate the scoreline which was tilted the Devils’ way until hooker Billy Collins was sinbinned midway through the second spell.

In a see-sawing encounter the Devils scored first, through centre Jake Cresswell, before Buller replied to level at 7-7.

A Braden Stewart touchdown sent the Devils ahead 14-7 before the lads from Westport took advantage of a defensive error to level again at 14-14.

Just before the break midfielder Ben Filipo put the men in red ahead 21-14, Corey Bovey adding his third conversion.

Soon after oranges Buller showed their resilience to again pull level, before Stewart grabbed his second to put his side ahead 26-21.

A penalty to Buller closed the gap to 26-24 before Collins was carded, reducing the Devils to 14 men at a vital stage, a numerical advantage Buller’s big pack and strong bench exploited to pick up a morel-boosting win before their Heartland Championship campaign.

Red Devils’ coach Baz Henare said Filipo, Jesse MacDonald, Bovey and Mitch Smith played key roles for his side, while youngsters Daniel Van Waas and Jake Collins, Dylan Burns, Michael Tuipulotu and Quinn Harrison-Jones also stood out, the whole bench getting good game time in preparation for next week’s challenge.

Scores from Sunday: Buller 41 Marlborough 26 (Braden Stewart 2, Jake Cresswell, Ben Filipo tries, Corey Bovey 3 con). HT: 21-14 Devils.

Tasman Griffins 28 West Coast 17.

Keelan Murrell booted three conversions for the victorious MBC side on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

Falcons’ late-season resurgence continues

The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV booked a spot in the University of Canterbury Plate play-offs with a commanding 26-0 win over St Thomas in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Falcons’ victory, a fourth in a row, pushes MBC into eighth position on the UC ladder, earning them a semifinal match-up with St Andrew’s College in Christchurch next weekend.

The last time the teams met STAC came away with a 30-24 win.

On Saturday, MBC did the hard yards in the first half. Playing into a strong wind, in what the coaches described as appalling conditions they defended strongly to keep the halftime score to 0-0, setting them up for a second half blitz.

“The boys were absolutely fizzing at halftime,” said manager Ma’ara Ave.

“You just knew we were in for a big second half. They totally dominated from the get-go.”

Coach Matt MacDougall said it was “a really satisfying win”. He added that there “was no-one who didn’t contribute today”, but singled out a quartet for special mention.

Hooker Te Ariki Peipi, returning prop Monu Moli and No 8 Olly Lawson were “outstanding”, both on attack and defence, and paved the way for the other forwards to just concentrate on doing their own jobs, while Liam Duncan continued to shine in the No 10 jersey and bagged a superb solo try.

Scores

MBC 26 (Monu Moli, Liam Duncan, Tino Vakaloa, Olly Lawson tries, Murrell 3 con) ST Thomas 0.

Other results

Waimea 25 Shirley 21; Christ’s 55 Timaru 28; Chrsitchurch 36 Lincoln 5; Nelson beat Mid Canterbury by default; Rangiora 31 Roncalli 0; St Bede’s 31 St Andrew’s 3.

Standings, after round robin

Nelson 60, St Bede’s 52, Christchurch 50, Christ’s 48; St Andrew’s 48, Rangiora 39, St Thomas 35, MBC 33; Lincoln 29, Timaru 25, Shirley 22, Waimea 13; Roncalli 8, Mid Canterbury 2.

Semifinals (home teams first)

Championship: Nelson v Christ’s, St Bede’s v Christchurch

Plate: St Andrew’s v MBC, Rangiora v St Thomas

Bowl: Lincoln v Waimea, Timaru v Shirley.