Moutere premier rugby coach Laurie McGlone may be wondering where his side’s first win will come from this season, but he’s adamant it is only a matter of time.
The Magpies have gone 0-7 since the beginning of the 2019 E’stel Tasman Trophy season, sitting bottom of the points table, a rare situation for Marlborough’s most successful rugby club.
Against Waitohi on Saturday they put in another gutsy effort, but ultimately failed to come away with anything to show for it. On their home ground, the Magpies turned in a strong first half effort to lead 8-5 at the break, but leaked 19 second half points to go down 24-8.
Coach McGlone said, “the last couple of weeks have been impressive in terms of our progress. Where we do what we train and maintain the ball we are making progress … it showed last week when we scored 33 points against the top team in the league.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t hold them defensively but our defence stepped up this week, it’s just a shame we let those last couple of tries in that blew the score out.”
He’s not one to make excuses, but McGlone has had some injury disruption to deal with this year. Two players expected to be key performers, halfback Ben Finau and utility forward Mike Curry, have missed most of the season so far through injury, Curry requires more diagnosis on a knee injury while Finau is expected back in the “next couple of weeks”.
“For us it’s more about the team though, not the individuals,” said McGlone. “It’s about us gelling together and working for each other. The feeling in the core group is good, they are really fighting hard for each other.
“[The results] are coming … just not quick enough. We are only halfway [through the season] but we need a better second half, that’s for sure.”
The Tohis opened the scoring at Spring Creek, livewire loosie Taine Cragg-Love on hand to finish off a 50m break by centre Taire Tatauri but a penalty to Max Freydell and a well-taken try to centre Myles Grinter saw the home side in front at oranges.
During a scrappy second half, Waitohi dominated field position and made it pay, tries to Dylan Norgate and Dylan Burns giving them breathing space before first five Corey Bovey, literally, crashed over for a fourth try in the final minute, bouncing off the base of the post before grounding the ball.
Locks Burns and Jack Evans worked hard for Waitohi, while midfielder Stefan Roguski, Bovey and fullback Tuli Paea continually posed a threat with ball in hand.
Moutere’s best were hard-working No 8 Matt McCormick, midfielder Aki Kaumavae and fullback Petueli Taufaga.
With their bonus point win, Waitohi continue to show the way for Marlborough-based sides on points table, consolidating third position.
However East Coast, fourth last week, have lost ground, slipping to sixth after going down 30-10 to Central at Lansdowne Park.
The home side led 17-0 at halftime, taking their chances to score twice, while the Coasters had opportunities but were unable to convert.
The second half was also tightly-fought but Central picked up a much-needed win through better ball control and more accurate finishing.
Loosie Braden Stewart was the Blues’ outstanding performer, a continual menace at the breakdown and strong with the ball in hand. First five Mitch Smith had his kicking boots on, booting three penalties and converting all three tries to ensure his side got maximum benefit for their endeavours. The exciting Timoci Tavatavanawai wore the 15 jersey and, as usual, was a ball of energy, while left wing Simi Volavola continued his strong season.
For East Coast, halfback Nemia Ranuku, who must be on the Tasman Mako selectors’ radar, had a top game, along with No 8 Shohei Nonaka.
Waitohi 24 (Taine Cragg-Love, Dylan Norgate, Dylan Burns, Corey Bovey tries, Bovey 2 con) Moutere 8 (Myles Grinter try, Max Freydell pen). HT 8-5 Moutere.
Central 30 (Peter Vakaloa, Braden Stewart, Jake Cresswell tries, Mitch Smith 3 con, 3 pen) East Coast 10 (Heath Forsyth, Paul Hickman tries). HT: 17-0
Marist 26 Waimea Old Boys 26
Wanderers 32 Stoke 30
Nelson 26 Kahurangi 22
Standings (unofficial): Waimea Old Boys 35, Marist 32, Waitohi 26, Wanderers 23, Kahurangi 21, East Coast 20, Nelson 19, Central 14, Stoke 12, Renwick 4, Moutere 3.
In the Tasman Trophy women’s competition Moutere backed up their opening day victory over Wanderers with an away win over Waimea Old Boys in Nelson. The defending-champion Magpies prevailed 40-24 to forge an early advantage on the points table. Awatere, the other Marlborough side involved, had a bye.
Standings: Moutere 6, Waimea OB 4, Motueka 3, Wanderers 2, Awatere 1.