It was quite the sight for the adult men in the Wanganui Development team to stand across Spriggens Park from teenagers that could match or exceed them for height and bulk on Saturday.
The Wellington Under 19 side brought some big and strong lads north for their preseason game, and showed they were dangerous on the counterattack, breaking out for six tries to one in a 36-7 hammering.
Playing with the wind in the first half, Wellington opened up Wanganui in their first raid as halfback Luke Campbell cut through some woeful tackling attempts to score under the posts.
Having a changed lineup from what was announced on Friday, as veteran centre Logan Vaughan came into the midfield, Wanganui actually had the better of the territory in the opening quarter, while trying a few set moves.
But dropped ball in the backs and the lineout, along with being worn down trying to counteract Wellington’s hard carries into the contact area meant the home team could rarely build the pressure necessary to discourage the youngsters from the capital.
Wellington winger George Bohn scored in the corner on a kick regather, and then reserve prop Ta-Ori Lupo was gifted a try when Wanganui spilled the ball 10m from their line.
It could have been more if a few of the teenagers were not penalised for backchat by referee Mark Wilson.
Turning with the breeze, Wanganui gave themselves some hope when winger Sailosi Naqiso crashed over under the posts shortly after the restart for 19-7.
But Wellington switched to off-the-ruck tactics and eventually their big lock James Blackwell took a quick tap at the line and forced his way over.
Set pieces fell apart in the final quarter as both teams opened it up for some more helter-skelter play.
But Wellington counterattacked through the midfield every time as the tackles fell away.
Winger Salio Siaunua crossed in the corner, and then reserve forward Jack Ross finished off another breakout on fulltime.
By Jared Smith – WANGANUI CHRONICLE