The Wanganui Under 19s kept another regional trophy in the union’s coffers when they beat Horowhenua Kapiti U19 20-7 in Palmerston North on Saturday.
Victory meant they retained the Hurricanes Development Series trophy and was impressive given they played without the likes of winger Brendon Burquist (Rangitikei College) and first-five Brett Cameron (Cullinane), the latter being away at the training camp to select a New Zealand Secondary Schools squad.
“There’s still a bit of depth to that team,” said WRFU development officer Jordan Farrington.
“You still have a Stephen Perofeta [Collegiate] who could roll into that [first five] spot.”
Ruapehu College prefect Gabriel Hakaraia, who earlier in the year received a grant to attend the International Rugby Academy in Palmerston North, had a big match in the front row, carting the ball up continuously.
Wanganui made the final after previous victories over Horowhenua Kapiti, Wairarapa Bush and Wellington Samoan Schools, while Poverty Bay pulled out of the competition.
The squad follows in the footsteps of what was the Wanganui Under 20 team, who won the Hurricanes Development Series last year.
It completed a good weekend for the Wanganui representative teams as the Development XV again won the RDO Shield competition, the Under 16s beat Horowhenua Kapiti U16, and the Steelform Wanganui team finally picked up a convincing Pink Batts Heartland Championship win, 44-7 over East Coast.
Further to yesterday’s report on the Cooks Garden fixture, Wanganui scored three tries going into the strong wind in the second half, allaying concerns they would not be able to secure the bonus point after scoring three times in the first stanza but also opting for penalty kicks.
Recovered from injury, reserve Bryn Hudson came on and would finally power across the tryline after a long period of buildup with good ball control from lock Sonny Woodmass, hooker Cole Baldwin, prop Shaun McDonough, winger Jaye Flaws, flanker Peter Rowe, and No8 Lasa Ulukuta.
Coach Jason Caskey emptied the bench as Ulukuta made a great run and offload to reserve halfback Lindsay Horrocks, with second-five Rhema Sagote driving over for his second try shortly after.
Wanganui started to fling it around haphazardly, but executed well enough for reserve prop Kamipeli Latu to find reserve winger Clive Stowers outside him after he came across from the far wing to score the sixth try.
In upcoming events, the Wanganui Under 16’s are shortly off to the Hawkes Bay for their Hurricanes regional tournament.
Farrington said the WRFU has organised a senior club sevens tournament for November 15, from which a new Wanganui Sevens team will be selected to compete in the North Island regional tournaments.
By Jared Smith