NEW TEAM BEHIND THE SCENES: The Wanganui Rugby Football Union’s new-look office staff are now all on board at their Cooks Gardens headquarters. They are (clockwise from top left) Lesley McKenzie , Paul Kenny, Bridget Belsham, Kim Flower and Justin Lock. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
FIJIAN pace got Utiku Old Boys off to a rare perfect start to their Tasman Tanning Premier campaign with a 52-23 victory over Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist in the first regular season hit out for both teams at Memorial Park.
Utiku’s back three of winger Michael Nabuliwaqa, representative winger/fullback Samu Kubunavanua and follow import outside back Semi Rabradra contributed five of the home team’s eight tries.
Marist were in the game with two tries in the first half to trail 26-18, but faded away in the second stanza.
Utiku’s fellow Memorial Park tenants PGG Wrightson/Ballance Taihape have continued their strong start to the season after likewise pulling away from Harvey Round Motors Ratana to beat them 35-0 at the Paa.
Tellingly, however, they are playing on road trips – Ratana are always a difficult proposition in front of their home supporters, but after being kept to a narrow 11-0 advantage, Taihape climbed away in the back end of the game to score four more tries.
Lock Johnston Hiroa, double try-scoring winger Paora McCarthy, and centre Cyrus Paringatai swept the MVP points for the visitors.
In the senior competition, the most anticipated meeting of the early games is all set up as six time champions Hunterville and strong new kids on the block Ngamatapouri picked up wins ahead of their clash at Easter weekend.
Making no secret of their desire to win the title in their first year, Ngamatapouri hammered Counties 59-7 at the McNab Domain, while Hunterville ground out a 15-0 win at home over 2014 semifinalists Tech. Pirates sit on top of the table after their second bonus point win, beating Kaierau 42-5.
By Jared Smith – Wanganui Chronicle