By Jared Smith
There is still so much to do and so little time for the St Johns Wanganui Metro teams, as their Manawatu club competitions have already clicked over the halfway mark.
In an amendment to previous reporting, the Metro Colts won their crucial away game against Dannevirke Sports Club by 24-7 on Saturday, securing the four-try bonus point to move up to second on the ladder.
Up 19-0 at halftime, Metro conceded their only points with a converted try by the home team, but finished the stronger by scoring again themselves.
Halfback Chris Ferguson, the team’s 2018 player of the year, grabbed two tries, including a 50m breakaway.
Also dotting down in the corner was prop Brad McCrea, son of noted local coach Jerome, while second-five Jack O’Leary got his third try of the campaign.
No8 Louis Devine played an uncompromising match.
“The boys ran really well, stuck to our game plan, a vast improvement on the Yellows [loss],” said coach Mark Cosford.
Unlike that defeat to the table leaders from Feilding, this time the players had the vision to go wide and the passes stuck.
“The guys were all fizzing, they see the potential now,” said Cosford.
“They’d love to have another crack at the Yellows.”
Metro now have the two most straight-forward opponents left before the scheduled playoffs, starting with Old Boys Marist at Ongley Park on Saturday, before facing winless College Old Boys.
“Aiming for five [points] out of each game, but don’t take anything easily,” said Cosford.
To that end, even though it does not behove them to do so with regards to getting a home semifinal, Metro are trying to “rattle the cages” of the Manawatu Rugby Union to expand the competition back to two rounds of games, instead of this shortened post-Covid-19 campaign to fit original season timeframes.
“It’s about giving the boys everything.”
The Metro Women’s team is similarly now looking at just two Prue Christie Cup matches left in their whole season, after narrowly losing to Linton RC 36-25 at Cooks Gardens.
The scoreline fluctuated throughout – Linton scoring first, then Metro leading 10-7, then down 14-10, then up 15-14.
“It went backwards and forwards,” said coach Tama Te Patu.
“Our girls are improving every game. They were good with ball in hand, just leaking points on defence.
“They can see they can score points against good players.”
Linton getting two tries inside the last ten minutes decided the outcome.
Centre and standout back Hollyrae Mete scored a hat trick, making four in two games, while both wingers crossed the line in Georgia Harold and Milika Siganisucu.
Another backline standout was Keilani Tyrell, daughter of Samoa test player and Wanganui captain Denning, while pick of the forwards were skipper and No8 Lavenia Nauga-Grey, hooker Kimberly Hunt and Manawatu Cyclones prop Sosoli Talawadua.
Linton had represented Metro’s best shot at a win in 2020, as they will now head down to Bill Brown Park on Saturday to meet second-place Kia Toa, who have only lost to the undefeated Feilding Old Boys-Oroua.
“We’ve got the two hardest teams up last, so anything we do will be an experience,” said Te Patu.
“I think we’ll run out of games before we get on top of it.
“The best way to lean is playing the game. When you get on the field it’s completely different [to training].”
The coach was pleased on Monday night to confirm one of their planned post-season matches against the Southern club from Hawera, who Metro defeated in their preseason meeting.
Both Metro away games are scheduled for 1pm kickoffs on Saturday.