Waitohi fullback Gannon Karena dots the ball down in the corner to level the scores at the end of regulation time. The Renwick tacklers are Josh Holdaway and Alex Barnsley. Photo: Peter Jones.

Blues to meet Tohis in rugby final repeat

Waitohi will meet Central in the Marlborough division one rugby grand final next weekend, a repeat of the 2019 sub-union decider.

The finalists made their way to the “big dance” in contrasting fashion on Saturday.

Top-qualifier Central led all the way to account for Awatere 37-22 at Lansdowne Park, while Waitohi drew 21-21 after extra time against Renwick at Renwick, but progressed to the final due to the fact they had scored three tries to the home side’s two.

The match was locked up 21-21 at the end of regulation time, with neither side managing to add to their tally during the 10 minutes each way of extra play. The Green Machine came closest, hitting the post with a penalty attempt, and then being held up over the line in the final moments going for the match-winning try.

They had been awarded a penalty within kicking distance but opted to tap and run, rolling the dice at a key moment, then being denied by some heroic goal line defence.

The result was tough on Renwick, who played a major part in an epic encounter. They were within touching distance of the final as the minutes ticked down towards the end of 80 minutes, ahead 21-16 before Waitohi fullback Gannon Karena dived over in the corner to level the scores. First five Tim O’Malley’s wide-angled conversion narrowly missed, setting up the extra-time thriller.

Waitohi led 11-10 at halftime in a match of contrasting styles, Renwick spreading the ball wide to the edges, in an attempt to create space inside while their rivals adopted a more physical approach.

When called on, both sides produced notable defensive efforts, often repelling repeated waves of attack.

Outstanding in the pack for Waitohi were Taine Cragg-Love, Losi Malimali and Taimi Fangatua, the former a menace at the breakdown, the latter duo carrying powerfully.

O’Malley provided a cool head behind the scrum while Karena handled the custodian’s role with aplomb.

Front-rowers Sione Lonitenisi and George Tuineau were prominent for the home side, along with loosies Josh Holdaway, Cody Weir and Kurt Schollum. Kyle Marfell was the rock in the Renwick midfield while fullback Michael Dillon showed all his skills at the back.

Waitohi player/coach Jimmy Giles was an exhausted, but happy, man after 100 minutes of action.

“You couldn’t ask for a better result from our end but, what a game … a semifinal that goes 100 minutes and the final act of the game to win it is held up over the line … unreal.

“Renwick are a well-structured team … we knew we had to be on our game and take them on up front. They made us work for everything.”

Although it took until the 80th minute to score the match-levelling try, Giles said there was always belief among his charges.

“That’s one thing we have tried to bleed into our culture, don’t let the scoreboard put pressure on you … it’s just about being in the game and in those big moments.”

Next Saturday Waitohi will endeavour to win a three-peat of premier titles, one of the side’s early season objectives, but will find a resilient, well-organised, unbeaten Central side in their path.

They led Awatere 17-10 at halftime and continued to exert pressure, both territorially and in the possession stakes, making the most of the opportunities that came their way.

Awatere coach Kaleni Taetuli said the match hinged around a couple of key moments in the second half when his side “lost their concentration and discipline”.

“That allowed Central to get back down the field and they capitalised. I was impressed though with the way our guys kept fighting to the end.”

Outstanding for the Blues were winger Nigel Satherley and flanker Braden Stewart, while midfielder Sione Vea and loosie Jack Roberton impressed for the Tussocks.

One can only hope the Government change the rules to allow more than a handful of spectators to enjoy the action. Although a few supporters were allowed to watch today’s games from the sideline, and they certainly made their presence heard, nothing compares to a full grandstand and some boisterous club rivalry.

Scores:

Waitohi 21 (Taimi Fangatua, Tim O’Malley, Gannon Karena tries, O’Malley 2 pen) Renwick 21 (George Tuineau, Sailasa Leqeti tries, Michael Dillon 3 pen, con). HT: 11-10 Waitohi.

Central 37 (Jesse MacDonald, Peter Vakaloa, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Nigel Satherley, Solomoni Vecena tries, Mitch Smith 2 pen, 3 con) Awatere 22 (Sione Vea, Tiko Ono Levu, Heath Forsyth tries, Franco Quinones pen, 2 con) HT: 17-10 Central

The division two semis were both contested at Lansdowne Park today, top-seeds Central thumping Moutere 69-5 while Awatere got up 21-18 over MBC Old Boys.

Central and Awatere will contest next weekend’s division two final.

Mitch Hunt has been named in the North squad. Photo: Shuttersport.

Mako men in rival squads

Nine contracted Tasman Mako players have been included among the two teams named this week to contest the North v South match on September 5.

The three All Blacks selectors have chosen two squads of 28 players for a match that will double as a trial for forthcoming internationals.

Players have been selected on the basis of which provincial union they were first selected for, making for several anomalies, such as seeing Nelson-born-and-bred Mako utility back Mitchell Hunt named in the North Island squad, because his first NPC season was with Auckland.

Along with Hunt in the Northern ranks is the newly-signed Tasman wing duo of Sevu Reece and Mark Telea.

However, most of the Mako men will turn out for the Mainland combination.

In the forwards, Andrew Makalio has been chosen at hooker, alongside prop Tyrel Lomax and flanker Shannon Frizell.

Finlay Christie, Leicester Fainga’anuku and Will Jordan are among the southern backline options.

Missing from the South line-up due to injury are in-form Tasman locks Quinten Strange and Pari Pari Parkinson, both likely to have been chosen alongside skipper Sam Whitelock if fit.

With uncertainty rife over possible COVID alert levels, the venue for the North v South clash has yet to be confirmed, although it will be played at either Auckland’s Eden Park or Wellington’s SKY Stadium.

The North versus South match was first played in 1897 (won by the North 16-3) and last held in Dunedin in 2012 (won by the South 32-24).

This year’s match will be the 81st, with the Northerners having won 50 matches and the South 27, with three draws.

Next up for the Mako players is a pre-season match, against Canterbury in Hanmer on Friday, September 4, before the NPC begins on September 11. Tasman’s first match is against Counties-Manukau in Pukekohe on Saturday, September 12.

 

The Interisland teams

South Island

Hookers: Liam Coltman (Otago), Andrew Makalio (Tasman) and Codie Taylor (Canterbury).

Props: George Bower (Otago), Alex Hodgman (Canterbury), Nepo Laulala (Canterbury), Tyrel Lomax (Tasman) and Joe Moody (Canterbury).

Locks: Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Southland) and Sam Whitelock (Canterbury and captain).

Loose forwards: Tom Christie (Canterbury), Shannon Frizell (Tasman), Dillon Hunt (Otago), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury) and Tom Sanders (Canterbury).

Halfbacks: Finlay Christie (Tasman), Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury) and Brad Weber (Otago).

First five-eighths: Josh Ioane (Otago) and Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury).

Midfielders: Braydon Ennor (Canterbury), Leicester Faingaanuku (Tasman), Jack Goodhue (Canterbury) and Sio Tomkinson (Otago)

Outside backs: Jordie Barrett (Canterbury), George Bridge (Canterbury) and Will Jordan (Tasman).

North Island

Hookers: Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Ash Dixon (Hawke’s Bay) and Kurt Eklund (Auckland).

Props: Alex Fidow (Wellington), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Angus Ta’avao (Auckland), Karl Tu’inukuafe (North Harbour) and Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland).

Locks: Scott Scrafton (Auckland), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland and captain) and Tupou Vaa’i (Taranaki).

Loose forwards: Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki), Akira Ioane (Auckland), Dalton Papalii (Auckland), Ardie Savea (Wellington) and Hoskins Sotutu (Auckland).

Halfbacks: TJ Perenara (Wellington), Aaron Smith (Manawatu) and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki).

First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett (Taranaki).

Midfielders: Rieko Ioane (Auckland), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato) and Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wellington).

Outside backs: Caleb Clarke (Auckland), Mitchell Hunt (Auckland), Damian McKenzie (Waikato), Sevu Reece (Waikato) and Mark Telea (North Harbour).

Unavailable for selection due to injury were 2019 All Blacks Dane Coles, Scott Barrett, Sam Cane and Ngani Laumape.

 

Captain Monu Moli was one of MBC’s try scorers against Waimea Combined. Photo: Shuttersport.

MBC Falcons rue second half slump

The “second half blues” returned to haunt the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV last week.

As has happened on several occasions this season, the Falcons turned in a dominant first half effort, only to see their good work undone during an underwhelming final stanza.

On Thursday they led the Waimea Combined team 21-5 at halftime in their University of Canterbury championship clash at Nelson’s Trafalgar Park, before the home side came up with 29 unanswered points to take the match 34-21.

A combination of factors sunk the MBC side, not the least of which was a gritty Waimea side who put a lethargic first half behind them to take control and play smarter in the greasy conditions. Some of their tactical kicking was outstanding and constantly turned the visiting side around.

MBC were also let down by some glaring defensive lapses, allowing their opponents to score four relatively-soft second half tries without having to build a succession of phases.

And it all started so well for the Falcons. Three first half converted tries, all scored from close range by the three front-rowers, coupled with a pronounced scrum dominance, saw them ease to a 16-point advantage at oranges.

Even after the break, they appeared more likely to score before the game began to slip out of their grasp around the 50 minute mark.

A try to the home side lifted their confidence and from then it was one-way traffic. MBC made a succession of handling errors, got on the wrong side of the penalty count and were unable to claim field position.

MBC head coach Matt MacDougall lamented the contrast in halves.

“Waimea obviously played a lot better in the second half, they changed their tactics, put us back in our own half and applied pressure.

“We just made life so tough for ourselves with silly penalties and when they got their tails up we couldn’t handle it.

“They put us in the corner and we didn’t have the necessary fight to come out of it. We had no answer.”

He pinpointed the sin-binning of first five Kyren Taumoefolau with 15 minutes to go as major turning point.

“There was no coming back from that,” the frustrated coach said. “Some of our execution and decision-making left me flabbergasted.”

MBC’s next game is against St Bede’s College in Blenheim on August 29, the first of three home matches to finish round-robin play.

Waimea College 34 MBC 21 (Te Ariki Peipi, Monu Moli, Max Morris tries, Kyren Taumoefolau 3 con). HT 21-5 MBC

Awatere midfielder Sione Vea crashes over the Moutere line to score his side’s second try against Moutere on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Rugby semifinalists confirmed

Awatere booked a place in the division one rugby semifinals, while the MBC First XV rebounded emphatically from a heavy defeat last week during a truncated Saturday of club rugby.

On a day where spectators were told to stay home, a scattering of officials and bench players were on hand to see Awatere overcome Moutere 33-19 on Lansdowne Park four.

Their bonus point win puts them into a play-off showdown next week against top qualifier Central, who beat Renwick 21-17 in the game on Lansdowne one. The green Machine will play Waitohi, who had the bye today in the other semi.

Due to the alert level two situation, only division one and two, plus the University of Canterbury championship game, were played in Marlborough on Saturday, with grades from under-6 to under-18 being cancelled.

Both division one games were shifted to Lansdowne Park, the venue offering better tracing and crowd control.

Going into Saturday’s match Moutere led Awatere by two points, leaving the Tussocks a simple equation, win or wind up your season.

From the outset they played with a determination, both on attack and defence, which was absent last week when they lost to Central.

They led by 17-0 halfway through the first spell, prop JP Koen and midfielder Sione Vea dotting down, before a try to Moutere skipper Luke Scott narrowed the gap to 17-7 at the break.

Midway through the second spell Moutere scored their third try, reducing the deficit to 23-19, before the Tussocks finished in style. Tries to outside backs Sam Westenra and Franco Quinones sealed the deal, wrapping up a deserved win, especially notable for some tough defensive work on their own line.

At the heart of the Awatere effort was their scrum, anchored by experienced props Seymour Lambert and JP Koen, with locks Su Campbell and Tiko Ono Levu in the engine room. They constantly had Moutere under pressure at set piece and on occasion pushed them off the ball.

No 8 Jack Roberton also impressed, along with midfielders Vea and Westenra, while Quinones, with 20 points, was a huge contributor.

Scott, player/coach Laurie McGlone and flanker Peceli Katonawale turned in big shifts for the Magpies, with halfback Ben Finau digging deep into his bag of tricks to help get his side home.

The other match was also tight, the scores locked 12-12 at the break. The Green Machine scored three tries to Central’s two, but trailed on the scoreboard, 11 points from the boot of Mitch Smith making the difference. Many people viewed this match as a grand final preview and, if that proves to be the case, it will be a match-up worth waiting for.

Jesse Eising, Dusty Foley, Jesse MacDonald and Smith were top performers for the Blues, while Kyle Marfell, Cody Weir, Jaydn Holdaway and Ruairidh Swan were the Green Machine’s best.

Awatere 35 (JP Koen, Sione Vea, Sam Westenra, Franco Quinones tries, Quinones 3 pen, 3 con) Moutere 19 (Luke Scott, Asesela Derenelagi, Koli Tau’alupe tries, Ben Finau con, Amco Cassidy con). HT: 17-7

Central 21 (Peter Vakaloa, Ethan Jones tries, Mitch Smith con, 2 pen, dropped goal) Renwick 17 (Josh Holdaway, Sione Lonitenisi, Sky Boskett-Barnes tries, Michael Dillon con). HT: 12-12.

Standings after round robin play: Central 36, Renwick 26, Waitohi 23, Awatere 11, Moutere 8.

In division two, MBC Old Boys beat Pelorus 38-5 at the College and Central beat Renwick 60-5.

 

College rugby

Meanwhile, the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV took out their frustrations at being hammered by Christchurch BHS last weekend on Lincoln High School, downing the combined side 69-12 on the college front field. Again, no spectators are permitted.

MBC began well and, apart for conceding a couple of tries to a gutsy Lincoln outfit, dominated almost throughout.

First five Kyren Taemoefolau was instrumental in pulling the right strings, bringing powerful ball-carriers such as midfielder Jake Pacey, No 8 Monu Moli and prop Te Ariki Peipi into play whenever possible.

With several of the side’s regular starters coming off the bench, MBC were able to maintain the momentum and scored 10 tries, attacking effectively both in close and out wide.

MBC remain in 11th position on the points table, but are closing on the middle rankers. They play Waimea in Nelson next weekend.

Other results: St Andrew’s 35 Mid Canterbury 30; Shirley 55 Roncalli 3; Christchurch BHS 69 Waimea 12; St Bede’s 19 St Thomas 18; Rangiora 19 Christ’s College 16; Nelson 24 Shirley 24.

MBC 69 (Dom Freeth, Cooper Roberts 2, Kyren Taumoefolau 2, Viliami Na’apa, Cameron Collins 2, Nikau Peipi, Ben Dalton tries, Taumoefolau pen, 8 con) Lincoln Combined 12 (Tyler Illes, Cam O’Donnell tries, Andre Des Forges con). HT: 31-5.

All Blacks winger Sevu Reece has signed for the Mako in 2020.

Tasman make several big-name signings

The worst-kept secret in provincial rugby is out – Tasman confirming last week that in-form wingers Sevu Reece and Mark Telea have signed for the Mitre 10 Cup champions this season.

Reece, who has been explosive for the Super Rugby champion Crusaders and the All Blacks, and Blues powerhouse Telea will form part of a hugely-potent outside back contingent at the Mako.

With players such as skipper David Havili, Will Jordan, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Fetuli Paea and Jamie Spowart already on their books, Tasman have an embarrassment of riches out wide.

With the possibility of Reece, Havili and Jordan earning All Blacks call-ups this season, this move is something of an insurance policy for the 2019 champs, leaving them with plenty of class to fall back on.

Reece formerly played NPC rugby for Waikato, Telea for Kieran Keane’s North Harbour side.

They are not the only signings designed to bolster Tasman’s title defence. Former favourites Quentin MacDonald and Kieron Fonotia, both 31, return from overseas gigs to add to the Mako mix.

Midfielder Fonotia has played for both the Ospreys and Scarlets in Wales since 2017. MacDonald has been playing for French club Oyonnax. He turned out on 78 occasions for Tasman between 2007 and 2015.

The season kicks off on September 11. All provinces are required to submit their 2020 squads to New Zealand Rugby by September 1.

Tasman’s first match is away against Counties Manukau on Saturday, September 12. Their first home game is against Northland in Blenheim on Friday, September 18.

Central lock Jesse Eising dots down for his side's seventh and final try during their division one clash with Awatere at Lansdowne Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Blues book top spot

Central clinched top position for the forthcoming Marlborough sub union division one rugby play-offs with a resounding win over Awatere at Lansdowne Park on Saturday.

The Blues underlined their championship credentials with a 45-19 victory, scoring seven tries as their backs and forwards combined superbly to produce a free-flowing, clinical display.

With hooker Jesse MacDonald, flankers Braden Stewart and Siatoki Baker, midfielders Jake Cresswell and Timoci Tawatawanawai, plus lock Jesse Eising and prop Peter Vakaloa to the fore they played with the confidence that accompanies an unbeaten side.

First five Mitch Smith was content to move the ball quickly to his outsides, who were often given too much time and space by the Awatere defensive line.

Ahead 31-7 at halftime, Central conceded an early try to the Tussocks in the second spell, but soon replied with a couple of their own to put the result beyond doubt.

Awatere were gallant, scoring three tries in reply, but could not match their opponent’s flair and ability to convert opportunities into points. When they were able to work their way into a position close to Central’s line they were clinical, but were not so much of a threat from long range. Their best were Jack Roberton, hooker Jake Collins, flanker Will Chaffey, fullback Franco Quinones, plus midfielders Sione Vea and Ben Filipo, the latter suffering what appeared to be a season-ending knee injury in the second spell.

Although there is still a round of preliminary matches to be played, Central are assured of top position for the semis, with the match to be played at their home ground.

In the other division one match played on Saturday, Waitohi got the better of Moutere 29-22 at Awarua Park.

In what Waitohi player/coach Jimmy Giles described as “another tight battle with our country cousins”, the Picton-based side led throughout the match. Two first half converted tries, plus a penalty to Tim O’Malley, saw the Tohis ahead 17-7 at the break. Although three unconverted second half tries to the home side kept the pressure on throughout, the defending champs scored twice more and had enough in hand to take the honours.

Flanker Taine Cragg-Love was outstanding for the victors, who got good value from some of their lesser-utilised players this season, such as lock Vance Pook.

The result ensures Waitohi will play Renwick, at Renwick, on one semifinal while the bonus points gained by the Magpies pushes them two points ahead of Awatere in the race for the fourth play-off position. They meet at Spring Creek next weekend to decide who will progress to the semis, where they will come up against Central.

Standings: Central 32, Renwick 25, Waitohi 23*, Moutere 8, Awatere 6. * Waitohi have a bye next weekend.

In division two action Central beat Awatere 62-5 at Lansdowne, Moutere hammered Pelorus 64-19 at Awarua Park and Renwick went down 34-7 to MBC Old Boys in Renwick.

Standings: Central 20, MBC Old Boys 14, Awatere 10, Moutere 10, Renwick 5, Pelorus 0.

Meanwhile the MBC First XV crashed down to earth with a thud after their gallant University of Canterbury championship win over Christ’s College last weekend.

On Saturday they were well beaten, 56-10, by the powerful Christchurch Boys’ High School side in Christchurch.

MBC continue to languish in 11th place on the 14-team table.

Other scores: Timaru 55 Mid Canterbury 12; St Bede’s 44 Roncalli 22; Christ’s College 48 Waimea 18; St Andrew’s 43 Lincoln 5; St Thomas 20 Rangiora 17.

Division one scores:

Central 45 (Jesse MacDonald, Timoci Tavatavanawai 2, Jesse Eising, Jake Cresswell, Siatoki Baker, Solomoni Tui tries, Mitch Smith 5 con) Awatere 19 (Brogan Matthews, Jack Roberton, Blair Loughton tries, Franco Quinones 2 con). HT: 31-7.

Waitohi 29 (Dylan Burns, Sione Kapeli, Gannon Karena, Vance Pook tries, Tim O’Malley pen, 2 con, Dylan McManaway con) Moutere 22 (Luke Scott, Kirisimasi Vaimea, Laurie McGlone, Amco Cassidy, Cassidy con). HT: 17-7 Waitohi

Tasman winger Timoci Tavatavanawai dive acroos the line for the match-deciding try. Photo: Shuttersport.

Mako men draw first blood

The Tasman Mako Wider Training Group team battled their way to a 42-31 over their Wellington counterparts at Lansdowne Park on Wednesday.

In perfect conditions, both sides took the opportunity to give the ball plenty of air and further their individual chances of Mitre 10 Cup selection later in the season.

Wellington began strongly as the home side took their time getting into the match. Within 15 minutes the visitors had two tries on the board, sparking the Mako men into action.

Tries to No 8 Taina Fox-Matamua, who left the field injured after dotting down beside the posts, and energetic prop Kershawl Sykes-Martin from close range put the home side back into the game, then they added two more before halftime to take a 28-14 lead into the break. All four Tasman tries were converted by first five Campbell Parata who was perfect from the tee all afternoon.

A fifth try, to skipper Tim O’Malley, stretched Tasman’s lead to 35-14 before Wellington, sparked by their bench players, scored a quick double to draw within four points.

However Tasman had the final say, a clever attacking cross kick being gathered by impressive winger Timoci Tavatavanawai, who dotted down between the posts for a double.

The set pieces were relatively evenly-fought, young Max Hicks standing out for Tasman at lineout time, while loosies Isaiah Miller and Braden Stewart were prominent in defence and, in Stewart’s case, with ball in hand.

There was much interest in the performance at fullback of NZ Sevens player Andrew Knewstubb, but he had few chances to show his wide range of skills and pace.

Parata steered Tasman around the park well with his trusty left boot and, although he missing touch from a couple of penalties, generally impressed.

Tasman coach Gray Cornelius was happy with the hit-out.

“It was really good to see that next tier of players playing at a higher level than club … there were some really pleasing things to come out of [the match].

“We got some guys in the Mako jersey for the first time too, so that was pretty cool. The Wellington side were perfect opposition for us at this stage of proceedings, just what we needed.”

Cornelius suggested Louie Chapman, who came on at halfback in the second spell had a good outing, along with Hopoate Taufa, who entered the fray when Fox-Matamua departed. He also mentioned wingers Jamie Spowart and Tavatavanawai, plus Parata who “had some good touches”.

Now it is back to club rugby for the aspiring Mako men, then some will be involved in the final Mako hit-out before NPC, against Canterbury in Hanmer on Friday, September 4. The Mako side will be named late August.

Scores: Tasman Mako WTG 42 (Taina Fox-Matamua, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Timoci Tavatavanawai 2, Braden Stewart, Tim O’Malley tries, Campbell Parata 6 con) Wellington Lions WTG 31 (James Tuia, Bruce Kauika-Peterson, Cullum Harkin, Shamus Langton, Aiden Morgan tries, Morgan 3 con). HT: 28-14 Tasman.

Referee Brad Evans signals a try to replacement hooker Te Ariki Peipi which sealed the deal for Marlborough Boys' College against Christ's College. Photo: Peter Jones.

MBC claim notable scalp

The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV claimed their first high-profile scalp of the season on Saturday, downing Christ’s College 17-14 on the MBC front field.

In previous encounters against top sides in the University of Canterbury Championship MBC have shown early promise, but ultimately failed to deliver.

Not this time though, a superb defensive effort setting up a well-deserved victory.

MBC tore into their work from the outset and led 10-0 for much of the first half, before conceding a converted try just before the halftime whistle. Christ’s, who were second on the UC championship table, threw everything at the home side but were regularly driven back in the tackle and bettered at the breakdown.

The second half followed a similar pattern, MBC using the ball intelligently and defending resolutely, led by outstanding performances from midfielders Jake Pacey and Tom Hobson, fullback Cam Collins, plus replacement loosie Archie Schluter, No 8 Viliami Napa’a and hooker Ben Dalton.

A converted try to replacement hooker Te Ariki Peipi after 60 minutes allowed MBC a 10 point lead and, although Christ’s came back at the very end to pick up a bonus point with a converted try, it was very much the home side’s day.

Head coach Matt MacDougall said, “We have had a good eight-day conversation around effort … not tactics and game shape, or worrying about the scoreboard, we have just talked about being able to come off the field and being able to say you have given your all. And that’s what they did today, especially on defence.”

“The biggest thing for me was that they kept getting off the ground and working for each other.

“The boys have showed glimpses of that sort of form … that was the fifth game this season we have led at halftime … but this time they showed they could keep it up for the full 70 minutes, and that’s what we have been looking for.”

Next week MBC meet Christchurch BHS in Christchurch.

Scores: MBC 17 (Monu Moli, Te Ariki Peipi tries, Kyren Taumoefolau 2 con, pen) Christ’s College 14 (Sean Rutherford-Bradford, Matt Durant tries, Nic Shearer 2 con). HT: 10-7 MBC.

Other scores: Timaru 50 Roncalli 20; Christchurch BHS 25 Nelson 13; Rangiora 22 Waimea 17; St Thomas 70 Mid Canterbury 3; St Bede’s 68 Lincoln 7; St Andrew’s 29 Shirley 13.

Meanwhile, in division one action, Central came out on top of a 2019 grand final replay at Lansdowne Park.

They headed off Waitohi 26-16, maintaining their unbeaten 2020 record and underlining their favouritism for end-of-season honours. They also held on to the Tasman-wide John Goodman Challenge Trophy and the weekly MRSU challenge cup.

Both teams scored a try in the first spell, Tim O’Malley’s two penalties plus a conversion of Taine Cragg-Love’s touchdown giving the visitors a 13-8 advantage at oranges.

However the second spell told a different story, Central scoring the first 15 points through tries to lock Jesse Eising and centre Timoci Tavatavanawai, plus a Mitch Smith penalty and conversion.

O’Malley booted his third penalty to close the gap, before Smith slammed over a long range effort to allow the Blues a 10-point lead which proved enough, despite a late flurry from the defending champs.

For Central, props Peter and Tino Vakaloa had strong games, along with hard-charging flanker Siatoki Baker, while halfback Ethan Jones, plus midfielders Timoci Tavatavanawai and Jake Cresswell, were prominent.

Cragg-Love was outstanding for the Tohis, along with hooker Taimi Fangatua and prop Losi Malimali, while Dylan McManaway and O’Malley steered the ship expertly.

In Seddon, the home side were unable to grab a much-needed win over Renwick, the Green Machine prevailing 31-21 to consolidate second spot on the table. They scored two tries in each half and led 17-14 at halftime. Awatere closed to 24-21 midway through the second spell before a late try to prop Ty Bampton clinched a bonus point win for the Green Machine. Try-scoring prop George Tuineau was Renwick’s player of the day.

Central 26 (Jesse Eising, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Mitch Smith tries, Mitch Smith 3 pen, con) Waitohi 16 (Taine Cragg-Love try, Tim O’Malley 3 pen, con). HT 13-8 Waitohi.

Renwick 31 (George Tuineau, Josh Holdaway, Ty Bampton, Atunaisa Taufa tries, Michael Dillon 4 con, pen) Awatere 21 (Sione Vea 2, Flynn Struthers tries, Franco Quinones 3 con). HT: 17-14 Renwick.

Division one standings: Central 27, Renwick 25, Waitohi 18, Awatere 6, Moutere 6.

In Saturday’s Tasman women’s division one semifinal, Moutere were well beaten 41-0 by title favourite Waimea Old Boys in Nelson.

In division two action, Central beat Moutere 35-21 at Lansdowne Park.

Harlequins player Tom Heagney finds a gap at Lansdowne Park on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Hadfield.

Junior rugby players get their chance

Marlborough’s rugby grounds were fully utilised on Saturday, as junior rugby returned after the lockdown delay.

Under clear, blue skies the region’s younger brigade finally put the skills they had been practicing at home to good use on the field, while the senior players were also back in action, heading towards finals late next month.

In Picton, a 30-15 victory over Awatere today ensured Waitohi are firmly back on track to defend their Marlborough sub-union division one crown.

The Tohis recently dropped back-to-back games to Central and Moutere but, after tipping over Renwick last weekend and Awatere today, showed they are still the team to beat. They led Awatere 18-3 at halftime and, although the second half honours were shared 12-12, they had enough points on the board to get the job done. They also registered four tries to pick up a valuable bonus point.

Player/coach Jimmy Giles was happy with the amount of scoring opportunities his side created, although they were unable to take advantage of them all.

Central’s Jet Randall makes a break at Lansdowne Park on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Hadfield.
Central’s Jet Randall makes a break at Lansdowne Park on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Hadfield.

Outstanding for the Tohis in what Giles described as an “all-round team effort” was prop Losi Malimali, back from suspension, hooker Taimi Fangatua, flanker Taine Cragg-Love, halfback Karlos Tautari and young first five Dylan McManaway who is relishing the opportunity to learn from Mako utility Tim O’Malley.

It was also Waitohi’s club day, the rugby club joining with Tokomaru netball and Picton’s footballers to make it a community occasion at Endeavour Park.

Awatere’s best were midfielders Sione Vea and Ben Filipo, plus hard-working forward Jack Roberton.

In Saturday’s other match, Renwick comfortably accounted for Moutere 53-16 at the Renwick Domain. The Green Machine led 24-6 at the break and continued to rack up the tries against a side who went a player down after 25 minutes when their midfielder was shown a second yellow card for a no-arms tackle, then a red.

In top form for Renwick were midfielder Kyle Marfell, loosie Cody Weir, lock Atu Taufa, first five Alex Barnsley, loose head prop Sione Lonitenisi and No 8 Kurt Schollum. A “cameo” appearance late in the game by former Mako player Cory Holdaway underscored a growing injury toll in the home side’s ranks.

Head coach Glen Blackmore said his side had “been a bit more ruthless”.

“The last couple of weeks we haven’t finished well, fell off the pace late in the game, so we put a lot of emphasis on that this week.”

Competition leaders Central had a bye. With three rounds remaining until the play-offs the Blues, Renwick and Waitohi are already assured of places in the semi-finals. The battle for the final position will come down to Awatere and Moutere, who meet at Awarua Park in the final round on August 15.

Scores:

Renwick 53 (Atu Taufa, Sione Lonitenisi, Alex Barnsley, Mesake Bula, Regan Marshall, Michael Dillon, Ty Bampton, Sailasa Legeti 2 tries, Dillon 4 con) Moutere 16 (Pene Toa, Ben Finau tries, Amco Cassidy 2 pen). HT: 26-6

Waitohi 30 (Stefan Roguski, Taimi Fangatua 2, Losi Malimali tries, Tim O’Malley 2 con, 2 pen) Awatere 15 (Sione Vea, Javi Nivevs tries, Franco Quinones con, pen). HT: 18-3

Division one standings: Central 23, Renwick 20, Waitohi 18, Awatere 6, Moutere 6.

In division two action Renwick lost to Moutere 37-10 at Renwick, MBC Old Boys were beaten 48-19 by Central at Lansdowne Park and Awatere accounted for Pelorus 52-14 in Seddon.

In the Tasman women’s division one grade, Central had another tough afternoon, going down 87-5 to Riwaka at Lansdowne Park. Moutere have a bye.

 

First XV

An inability to finish games strongly continues to cost the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV in the University of Canterbury championship.

On Saturday they suffered their second successive loss in a week when they went down 27-14 to Rangiora High School in Rangiora. The previous Monday they lost 43-17 to Nelson College on the MBC front field.

In Rangiora, MBC started strongly, as they have in most of their matches. They went to the break 14-7 ahead, but that was the extent of the good news. As soon as the home side got their noses in front, MBC were unable to respond.

“The wheels fell off when Rangiora got ahead of us,” said disappointed MBC coach Matt MacDougall.

“It has been the story of our year. As soon as teams get ahead of us we start to lose belief, our structure goes out of the window and they find it very hard to claw their way back.”

Jake Pacey and Ryan McLeod scored MBC’s two tries, Kyren Taemoefolau converting both. Outstanding with ball in hand for MBC was No 8 Viliami Napa’a who made 17 carries, while fullback Cameron Collins made a strong fist of the fullback’s role.

Jack Fisher-McKinney also shone in his first start, along with young loosie Arlyn Bull, who made his debut.

Their fifth loss of the season relegates MBC to 11th on the UC table. Next up is a home game against Christchurch Boys’ High School next Saturday.

Central midfielder Timoci Tavatavanawai slides in under the Moutere posts for his second try at Awarau Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Central, Waitohi claim wins

Central underlined their division one rugby pedigree at Awarua Park on Saturday afternoon, romping past home side Moutere 54-0.

In gloomy conditions, with constant light rain throughout and the floodlights on, the Blues achieved a commendable level of co-ordination, enabling them to run in eight tries, seven of which were expertly converted by fullback Mitch Smith.

Moutere’s cause was not helped by the fact they were reduced to 14 men midway through the first half when No 8 Peceli Katonawale was sent off for a breakdown infringement.

The Blues, who were without Braden Stewart and Nigel Satherley this week, were on the board early through inspirational hooker Jesse MacDonald. Soon after, Moutere lost hooker Pene Toa to the sin bin for a high tackle and Central scored again, through a clever bit of work from first five Liam Duncan.

That pretty much summed up the afternoon for the Magpies, who battled away but too often turned over possession cheaply and were unable to string lengthy phases together.

By halftime Central had three more tries, the score was 33-0 and the match was effectively over.

However, they kept their foot on the throat during the second spell, a double to centre Timoci Tavatavanawai and a final touchdown by No 8 Matt McCormick against his former club rubbing salt into the wound.

Young loosie Edan Fitzpatrick was outstanding for the Blues, along with halfback Ethan Jones, Duncan, Smith and midfielder Jake Cresswell.

Tristian Taylor, who played in a variety of positions, was Moutere’s best, along with hard-working skipper Luke Scott.

Victory ensured the Blues remain unbeaten for the season, and retain the Weekly Challenge Cup which they claimed from Renwick last week.

Meanwhile, in Picton, the home side rebounded from their loss to Moutere a fortnight ago to tip over Renwick 32-20 at Endeavour Park.

The match was a see-sawing affair, the return of experienced Mako utility back Tim O’Malley and player/coach Jimmy Giles at No 8 making a difference in the latter stages when Waitohi assumed control.

The home side held a narrow 10-8 advantage at the break and picked up a further three second half tries to claim a bonus point, while Renwick relied on the trusty boot of fullback Michael Dillon, who landed five penalties to keep them in touch as the match see-sawed throughout.

Giles said the difference was that his side won a few of the key moments in the latter stages.

“It was tit-for-tat, in the end a few turnovers made the difference,” he suggested.

“The last couple of weeks have been below our best work … this time we played for each other, became brothers again.”

Waitohi’s player of the day was lock Dylan Burns, who bagged two of their tries.

Giles had praise for their young front rowers Saka Kavila and Luke Bergman who anchored a capable scrum in the absence of the experienced Manu Mataele and Losi Malimali.

Taine Cragg-Love, Mote Malimali, Karlos Tautari, fullback Gannon Karena and first five Dylan McManaway also made big impacts.

For Renwick No 8 Kurt Schollum had a strong game on both attack and defence, halfback Ruairidh Swan cleared the ball well and kicked intelligently while Dillon had another top outing at the back.

Division one scores:

Central 54 (Jesse MacDonald 3, Timoci Tavatavanawai 2, Matt McCormick, Jake Cresswell, Liam Duncan tries, Mitch Smith 7 con) Moutere 0. HT: 33-0.

Waitohi 32 (Dylan Burns 2, Gannon Karena, Taimi Fangatua tries,Tim O’Malley 3 con, 2 pen) Renwick 20 (Alex Barnsley try, Michael Dillon 5 pen). HT: 10-8 Waitohi

Meanwhile, the Marlborough division two competition began on Saturday. MBC Old Boys opened the competition with a 12-0 win over Moutere at Awarua Park, Awatere prevailed 32-5 over Renwick at the Renwick Domain and Central beat Pelorus 57-7 in Havelock.

In the Tasman women’s division one competition Moutere went down 77-20 to Riwaka, while Central were beaten 87-10 by reigning champions Waimea Old Boys.