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Border vs Marist : report 25th July

By Jared Smith

It was an abject lesson in ruthlessly pressing an advantage, and Waverley Harvesting Border made sure Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist learned every part of it in the 79-19 hammering at Dallison Park on Saturday.

At 50-19 entering the final quarter, Marist had been outplayed in the Tasman Tanning Premier clash, but still gamely hung in there for the better part of the contest.

With the knowledge Settler’s Honey Ngamatapouri were not likely to get any points out of their away loss to Byford Readmix Taihape, the word went out from Marist coach Travers Hopkins for his team to push for a fourth try and crucial bonus point in the race for fourth place on the table.

But Border coach Cole Baldwin had relayed his own message – give them nothing – and Border barely let Marist touch the ball in the next 15 minutes as they charged across halfway, past shattered tacklers, to score a further five tries in a scoreline blowout.

Lightning winger Vereniki Tikoisolomone, midfielders Anaru Haerewa and Alekesio Vakarorogo, and former Whanganui Collegiate standout loose forward Semi Vodosese were unstoppable and ran riot, backed up by linchpin halfback Lindsay Horrocks, who has scored tries in all four games this season.

With plenty of depth on the bench, including three 2019 Steelform Wanganui players, Border just kicked it up another gear and Marist’s tiring younger and smaller outside backs had few answers.

It was a shame, as their hard working loose forwards like George Foster and skipper Brad Graham, hooker Jack Yarrall, and 18-year-old winger Rangi Kui, who scored a brilliant individual try, deserved better than such a mauling.

After finishing their last three games strongly, getting a win and two bonus points in narrow losses, Hopkins was disappointed Marist never looked like cracking another try.

“It was definitely communicated, but the boys just seemed a little bit flat.

“We had patches, I thought there was great patches throughout that game, but with a class side like Border you’ve got to be continuous and they showed the old term of playing for the full 80 minutes today.

“They’ve got a ton of pace and we were aware of that. We’ve got a young team, and we’re still getting our combinations together.

“Again, I don’t want to keep going back to it, but Jo [Bogileka] has been our rock for the past few years – that defence and bringing that line speed.

“They’re learning, they would have taken away a lot, there’s a lot of soul searching to be done.

“They’ll make the changes they need to make.”

Border go back to the top of the Premier table on points differential from Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau, and while the final minutes were a joy to behold for home town supporters, Baldwin was more pleased with the first half execution when Marist were still making a game of it.

“We’re still a work in progress, not the polished product yet. But it’s a positive step in the right direction.

“It’s important to grow your depth, even though we haven’t got a huge number of players they’ve all pretty talented.

“The last few weeks, they’ve been frustrated, I’ve been frustrated, but it’s finally starting to click, it’s just important to improve on it next week.”

Baldwin singled out Vodosese, who is making the schoolboy to adult rugby transition look effortless.

“He’s going to be a very special player in a couple of years time, if not this year, he’s certainly got a lot of potential.

“I don’t know how much longer or how many years we’ll get out of him, but we’ll enjoy him while he’s here.”

It was a mixed start for Border, who in classic style used the width of the park with their wide passes and swift recycles, with veteran first-five Craig Clare finding the overlap for winger Isaiah Graham-Hooper – back from Taranaki – to cross untouched in the corner.

However, they then lost Tikoisolomone to the sin bin after an altercation with Graham, although Marist couldn’t take advantage after some handling errors in the set piece.

Clare spotted a half gap to run through, and while the pass wide went loose, Border quickly regathered and transferred back to the left hand side of the field for Vakarorogo to shrug out of a tackle and score.

Kui closed the gap to 10-5 with a fantastic effort – taking a clearing kick and clearing the outside cover tacklers, before putting down a grubber and somehow dragging the ball back into play at the corner flag while diving over in the same motion.

But Marist immediately went to sleep at the restart, as Border secured a turnover and just fired the ball wide to Graham-Hooper on the opposite wing to run in unopposed.

The home side kept up the pressure at scrum time, and the weight of territory told as Horrocks backed up Vodosese to then dummy into the gap, step the cover defence to score.

Marist tried to work out of their half, but Border flanker Angus Middleton had been dominating on defence beside the rucks, and he swooped to snatch an intercept and run to the posts for 31-5.

Border then scored right on halftime as Middleton attacked from a penalty lineout and found Clare, who had the strength to carry tacklers over the line for a try he converted.

The home side picked up right where they left off in the second stanza, as Tikoisolomone just gassed it from a scrum win near halfway to clear the Marist defenders, as his outside step left them stumbling into each other on a clear run to the corner.

However, playing for the bonus, Marist finally put some team phases together as Kui probed down the far touchline, backed up by reserve Cajun Botica, and from the ruck recycle lock Lake A Chong hit the ball up and twisted over in the tackle to score.

Border got another penalty to set a close range lineout, and despite the best efforts of Marist prop Viki Tofa, his old Wanganui team mate Hamish Mellow managed to drive over and ground the ball to raise the half century.

Marist still wanted four tries, and after a good kick chase by second-five Pati Leo and fullback Ashton Coates trapped Border in their corner, the visitors got No 3 when they spread the ball and Coates backed himself to beat the cover on the other side.

But from here the thin green-and-white line just fell away, as Vakarorogo, Haerewa and reserve winger Tom Symes made big line breaks, with Haerewa just ankle tapped short of the line but finding Vodosese for the pop up pass to waltz over.

The flanker then charged straight through from the restart, and although the pass went loose amongst the support players, a ruck was set close to the line and lock Jack Hodges powered his way over.

Seconds later, Vodosese was charging again from the kickoff and this time he found Horrocks to dash under the posts.

Marist just couldn’t keep Border in their own half, as prop Kamipeli Latu drove his way over the 50m , and then the ball was spread in both directions until no-one was in catching distance of Tikoisolomone on his run to the corner flag.

The next kickoff didn’t clear 10m, and Horrocks went for a dart from the scrum to link with reserve Neihana Pomana, who fended off two despairing dive tackles to score.

Border 79 (I Graham-Hooper 2, L Horrocks 2, V Tikoisolomone 2, A Vakarorogo, A Middleton, C Clare, H Mellow, S Vodosese, J Hodges, N Pomana tries; C Clare 5 con, J Lupton 2 con) bt Marist 19 (R Kui, L Ah Chong,  A Coates tries; Kui con, Coates con). HT: 38-5.