David Ogilvie reports on today’s three Wanganui premier rugby matches played outside the city:
Utiku’s amalgamation of farmer grunt and Fijian flair continued apace at Taihape today with a rare victory over Ruapehu in a high-scoring thriller.
Utiku’s move last season to bring several Fijian players across started to return results in 2014, and with the same players remaining in the club, the growth of teamwork has resulted in three successive bonus point victories so far in 2015 – truely something for today’s oldtimers to celebrate at Taihape.
The other two Wanganui premier matches today saw Pirates retain the lead with a 22-5 win at Ratana, and Taihape keep their season ticking over nicely with a 17-0 beating of Marist.
Resting quietly today with the bye were Border and Kaierau.
Pirates lead with 16 points, ahead of Utiku 15 (one game less), Taihape 13, Border 9, Kaierau 8, Ruapehu 4, Marist 1 and Ratana 0.
Ruapehu, in fact, have lost all three matches, a most unusual happening after a long period on or near the top of the Wanganui tree. But Ruapehu certainly made Utiku fight for its points in the 34-31 loss at Taihape.
Utiku’s points came from tries to fullback Michael Nabuliwaqa (2), No 8 Malaki Volou (2) and the big Fijian second-five Samu Kubunabanua. The latter was one of the day’s most effective players, along with Volou.
Ruapehu’s points came from tries to Andrew Evans, Troy Brown, David Gower and Roman Tutauha. Big midfielder Tautahi Rawiri kicked four conversions and a penalty.
Tutauha (hooker) and halfback William Short were Ruapehu’s best.
Pirates carried on its run, albeit with some hiccups, by beating Ratana 22-5 at Ratana.
Wing CJ Stowers was his powerful penetrating self in scoring a double, with big centre S’aena Vili and Matiu Tarogi also scoring.
Vili has scored in every game including a hat-trick. Patrick Hiscox kicked a conversion.
Ratana’s try went to Jamie Hughes.
Slade Hay-Horton and Taylor Transom scored tries for Taihape against Marist, with Transom kicking two conversions and a penalty. Glen Horton and halfback Brett Nicholls were Taihape’s best. Marist was without Cameron Crowley, who broke an arm last Saturday against Pirates.
Wanganui Rugby Results April 11 2015
Premier, round 4 –
Utiku OB 34 (1), Ruapehu 31 (2). HT: 22-3 Utiku.
Taihape 17, Marist 0. HT: 7-0.
Pirates 22 (1), Ratana 5. HT: 12-5.
Byes – Border and Kaierau.
Senior, round 4 –
Ngamatapouri 27 (1), Taihape 5. HT: 15-0.
Tech 38 (1), Kaierau 17. HT: 26-3.
Ruapehu 53 (1), Utiku OB 10. HT: 27-3.
Pirates 34 (1), Ratana 12. HT: 13-0.
Celtic 28 (1), Counties 10.HT: 21-5.
Hunterville 80 (1), Marist Buffalo’s 3. HT: 31-3.
Marton 57 (1), Border 12. HT: 33-0.