THE Wanganui Heartland selectors were left with plenty to mull over after yesterday’s Town versus Country rugby trial at the Kaierau Country Club.
Heartland coach Jason Caskey had given both Town and Country coaches Jerome McRea (assisted by Cornell Mason) and Peter Rowe (assisted by Tom Wells) riding instructions before the 1pm kickoff and they delivered what was required.
The match ended in a 63-43 win to Country, although Caskey conceded the scoreline was not as crucial as the manner in which the game was played.
“I asked both coaches to play at pace and with intent making sure each player stuck to their core roles and that’s pretty much what we got today,” Caskey said immediately after the match.
The game was played in four 20-minute quarters and began at a frenetic pace with both sides displaying good handling and decision-making skills.
The Country lads were quickly out of the starting blocks scoring several good tries early despite some spirited defence from their city cousins.
Country continued to somewhat dominate proceedings through the first quarter before Town improved to even up the exchanges.
“There was a lot of good stuff out there today and they did what I’d asked and played with intent. I was happy with the outcome,” Caskey said.
While several of the old hands were not asked to play yesterday their selection was not necessarily set in stone and those that did take the field appeared keen to impress.
“There was a lot of physicality and that’s another thing I wanted to see.”
Caskey said he was taken by the performance of several players in both sides.
“I thought Jamie Hughes (Ruapehu open side flanker) had an outstanding game at No7, while Sam Madams and young Irishman Gavin Thornbury both had good games at lock. Kane Tamou (Ratana) also did well at halfback early as did Rory Gudsell (Marist) when he came on. I also though Anaru Saurara (Kaierau) had a good game at halfback although he was probably without the communication some of the others had.
“Overall I was happy with what we saw today and we have plenty to think over. They get another chance to show their skills when the Heartland squad plays the Manawatu Evergreens (basically Manawatu B) on June 22,” Caskey said.
Country 63 (Jamie Hughes 2, Tremaine Gilbert, Sam Madams, Kane Tamou, Dane Whale, Samu Kubunavanua, Taylor Transom, Michael Nabuliwaqe, Simeli Koniferedi, Rory Gudsell tries, Whale 4 con)
Town 43 (Dylan Pearce 2, Te Rangatira Waitokia 2, Tupu Tavae, James Forsyth, Jack Yarrall tries, Sam Monaghan 4 con).
Quarter-time: 20-7 Country
half- time 32-19 Country
Three-quarter time 39-36 Country
By Iain Hyndman – Wanganui Chronicle