The new Wanganui Samoa squad christened their jerseys nicely with a 66-0 demolition of Horowhenua Kapiti Samoa in a High Commissioners Cup match that was called off ten minutes early at Spriggens Park on Saturday.
The visitors were depleted from the team which lost 44-27 to Manawatu Samoa in Levin the week before, after several players were called up into the wider Horowhenua Kapiti senior squad for the weekend, leaving a last minute scramble to fill out the roster.
They dropped off a lot of tackles, especially in the second half as the Wanganui Samoans began to run into gaps left by tired defence, utilising the quality they had in their outside backs.
Having missed most of the club season with a broken wrist, winger Clive Stowers was hungry to make an impression and pumped his way through defenders to score two tries and lay on two more in an excellent 50 minute performance.
Coach Ace Malo was pleased with the first up victory for a squad that had just two training sessions before kickoff for their inaugural match as an WRFU team.
“Happy. Good result.
“We’ve got Hawke’s Bay next week, so probably tougher, they are the defending champions.
“That will be hard, especially playing over there.”
Taking first use of the wind, Wanganui camped in Horowhenua Kapiti’s half for all but a few minutes of the opening 40 minutes, with Stowers opening their account after he snatched up a loose ball on the 22m and put the head down to fend his way through four hapless defenders and drag another over the line.
Another Stowers run was followed up by prop Faith Esera, and then flanker Taveuni Malolo hit the ruck pass in the gap to dive over with a flourish.
From a scrum win, second-five Vaovasa Afasua stepped through the line and fended off the last cover tackle to go under the posts for 21-0 in the 26th minute.
Horowhenua-Kapiti’s floodgates opened as lock Alex Mulipola took a penalty tap ball and powered his way over, then after fullback Junior Ainea made a strong carry back of the visitor’s clearance, Stowers went off the ruck and got the fend working to leave defenders scattered again for his double.
First-five Lote Tauialoto added his fifth straight conversion for 35-0 at halftime.
Another massive Stowers run took Wanganui from inside their half to Horowhenua-Kapiti’s tryline, and after several forwards had a crack before offloading in the tackle, lock Afano Kuika dived through the last line, reaching out to score.
Having missed out so far, Stower’s fellow winger Elijah Ah-Chong took his chance when the ball was spread to his side of the field to step and drag defenders over in the corner.
The roll-on continued as Afasua busted through the midfield to set up his Pirates club midfield partner Meki Magele, who skipped out of the last diving tackle to jog to the line.
Wanganui then had to absorb some rare pressure in their own half, before they got the penalty and set off on a tap kick raid, with No 8 Popo Leota running with the ball in one hand to ease into a big gap for the ninth try after 65 minutes.
Just two minutes later, a scrum win on the Horowhenua Kapiti side of halfway went out to reserve winger BJ Peika, who dashed off down the tramlines to cross in the corner and sprint back to the posts, taking a quick drop kick conversion.
At this point, the visitors had enough and requested to referee Noah Viliamu that they surrender the match.
Wanganui Samoa 66 (C Stowers 2, T Malolo, V Afasua, A Mulipola, A Kuika, E Ah Chong, M Magele, P Leota, B Peika tries; L Tauialoto 7 con, Peika con)
bt Horowhenua-Kapiti Samoa 0. HT: 35-0.
Wanganui Chronicle By: Jared Smith