Spots in the top Steelform Wanganui team will be hard to come by as the WRFU’s second tier team set about proving their wares on Saturday.
The Wanganui Toyota Development XV had a last minute change of venue for their preseason match against Hawke’s Bay Under 19 from Ashurst to CET Arena at Palmerston North.
They still held their nerve from a second half comeback by Hawke’s Bay to win 38-27.
“We only got together on Thursday night,” said new coach Jerome McCrea.
“Scored some really good tries, played some really good footy.
“A few defensive lapses, but that’s to be expected.”
Leading around 22-5 at halftime, Wanganui gave up two tries in five minutes for the Hawke’s Bay juniors to close the gap, but then reasserted themselves.
Six players scored tries, while Nick Harding, a regular fullback in club rugby, kicked four conversions while having an excellent match at 1st five.
Josiah Bogileka and Troy Brown formed a solid midfield combination, while in the forwards it was lock Josh Lane who got through a very high workload.
All four of those players are obvious contenders to step up to the senior Wanganui team if needed, with Harding and Lane being 2017 representatives while Brown has also previously played Mitre 10 Heartland rugby in 2015.
“There’s a few more to come in, so have to cut a few others, which will be hard,” said McCrea, who initially took a wider squad of 27 players, rather than waiting to see who will step back from the top Wanganui team on a given weekend.
The team will kick off their defence of the Rugby Development Officers (RDO) Shield against Wellington Maori in the Cooks Garden curtain raiser on August 25.
By: Jared Smith