Game of two halves at Spriggens Park as Border retain Challenge Shield
(Above Tom Symes [left] Jo Bogileka [right].
Dave Hoskins Carriers Marist vs Waverley Harvesting Border at Spriggens Park.
By Jared Smith
Photos supplied by Lewis Gardner at Whanganui Chronicle
It was opening day jitters for home side Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist as their new-look Tasman Tanning Premier squad remains a level behind the classy performers in Waverley Harvesting Border.
However, the defending champions and Grand Hotel Challenge Shield holders left a windy Spriggens Park with food for thought as well on Saturday, particularly when it comes to their discipline.
A match threatening to become a blow out at 34-0 by halftime petered out to 39-10 at the end of a stop-start affair.
Marist played right into the hands of Border’s exciting ball-runners in the opening stanza, after the visitors won the toss and took first used of the influential breeze.
Indecision or being pushed back by hard tackling at the second and third phases would inevitably lead to loose passes and dropped ball, with Border’s speedsters and their co-captains swooping on unforced errors to dash off on four of their six tries.
Both lightning winger Vereneki Tikoisolomone and flanker Angus Middleton, the latter fresh after missing last year’s shortened representative season, scored doubles.
Middleton grabbed Border’s only points of the second half on a 50m intercept – the second try Marist gave up in that fashion after No8 Semi Vodosese also snatched the ball from a ill-directed pass to run 70m in the first half and leave the home team’s heads low.
It was good to see former Steelform Whanganui loose forward Kieran Hussey back on the local scene, as he twisted through tacklers to score under the posts nearing halftime.
With more size, strength, and most importantly, continuity as a playing group, Border didn’t look like they’d lost a step, until the second half as they turned to face the wind and with a safe scoreline began to over- extend themselves with some dropped ball and loose passes of their own.
Initially, Marist continued to struggle, with their young backline still learning to operate as one unit, while a number of the forwards couldn’t hang onto the ball in close contact.
However, they managed two tries, one a smart piece of individual skill by first-five Ashton Coates, and the other coming from a forward drive from hooker Jack Yarrall, who ran over several would-be tacklers throughout the match.
Border were defending with 14 men at the time, having to play 20 consecutive minutes of the second half that way, with both former Whanganui players Ranato Tikoisolomone and Sam Madams being sent behind the posts shortly after they came onto the field.
This followed up from lock Toby Lennox also getting the yellow card in the first half for more professional fouls after repeated warnings from referee Sean Ferguson.
Knowing he has only a ten game round-robin to get his team playing correctly to the whistle, Border coach Cole Baldwin had a long conference with Ferguson at fulltime to make sure he understood the official’s interpretations, after a second half where their momentum stalled.
“It’s just our fitness really. Going away from the plan we had in place and how we wanted to play.
“We know if we can get that side of it right, it’s going to work in our favour a little bit more.
“First half, probably as good as you’re going to see from a first round game, got to be positive about that – scrum went well, bit of work to on the other set piece side of it with the lineout, but you’re not going to be perfect in round one.
“Not just for 40 minutes, next week we want to do it for a bit longer.
“You’re going to struggle in this competition if you give away three yellow cards in every game, that’s something we need to look at.
“We’ve sort of addressed that now, we know what they were for, and so we’ll be making sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Having given his team a serve at halftime, Marist coach Travers Hopkins got glimpses of what his team can do with some go-forward during the final quarter – in fact, Marist’s final phase retentions were their best of the game, as they got right down to Border’s line, only to yet again have the final pass come unstuck.
“We just looked a little bit at sea and maybe just a little bit of ring-rust,” Hopkins said.
“We’ll certainly put that to fish and chip paper, so to speak, but I think that second 40 is probably a truer reflection of the ability that I see in the team.”
He agreed the side seemed to run out of ideas after a couple of rucks and pushed for opportunities that weren’t there.
“And you add in a couple of freakish tries from them, I take nothing away from them, they’ve got talent to burn.
“You don’t want to give Border any points; it’s hard enough to get points against them, so you can’t give them to them on a plate.
“It is a new team, a lot of new players and combinations, even switching with Jo [Bogileka] taking off in the second half, which was already pre-planned.
“It gave some of our newer guys a chance to have a bit of shine, and I think our bench did really well today, probably lifted the tempo, which is what we wanted from the start.”
Marist had a good opening with Yarrall making strong returns on Border’s clearances while lock Brad O’Leary looked to disrupt their lineouts.
However, Bogileka found himself on clean-up duty for loose passes too many times, as Coates, second-five Jamie Robertson and fullback Daniel Kauika looked to find their groove.
Border took advantage to get in position for a successful penalty in front by fullback Nick Harding in the sixth minute.
Not long after, Border pinched one of Marist’s lineouts, with halfback Lindsay Horrocks firing a no-look reverse flick pass on possession he didn’t expect, but co-captain Craig Clare showed all his professional experience to gather the ball and cut through the line, finding Middleton inside to dash away.
A Border tighthead scrum win then saw Vodosese and fellow 2020 Whanganui representative Alekesio Vakarorogo make powerful runs, and despite a loose offload, Clare was there again to find Harding wide – giving Vereneki Tikoisolomone just enough head-start to burn off his teenaged chasers towards the corner and run back near the posts.
Despite losing Lennox to the bin, Border came up on Marist’s backs, looking to hit them behind the advantage line, and Vodosese swooped on a loose inside pass to run away from the chasing Kauika on his way to the posts in the 24th minute.
Coates kicking out on the full put Border in position for another attack, working forward off Middleton’s burst, and while Bogileka stopped Tikoisolomone on his run across to the opposite wing, the visitor’s recycled smartly and Hussey twisted through and dragged three tacklers under the black dot.
Border were looking unstoppable when Marist made a quick tap and immediately infringed, and after Border feinted going for touch, Clare sent the ball wide through his backs and Tikoisolomone again had just an extra yard’s head start to burn off defenders and run into the corner in the 38th minute.
But there would be no further points for nearly half an hour as both sides looked scrappy, until Coates seized an opportunity to step through the line and then dummy past the cover defence and drag his tackler over the line for a fine try.
A succession of penalties against their 14-man opposition let Marist in position for a corner lineout, and after Border repelled the initial shunt, Yarrall twisted back the other way towards the corner and landed the ball right on the chalk in the 72nd minute.
Marist had hopes of a possible bonus point, but they were dashed when a pass cannoning off one of the reserve forwards came into Middleton’s hands, who sprinted off to the corner and crashed over in Kauika’s last ditch tackle.
Border 39 (V Tikoisolomone 2, A Middleton 2, S Vodosese, K Hussey tries; N Harding pen, 3 con)
bt Marist 10 (A Coates, J Yarrall tries)
Whanganui rugby results April 24
Tasman Tanning premier championship, round 1 –
At Spriggens Park (Grand Hotel Challenge Shield) –
Waverley Harvesting Border 39 (Angus Middleton 2, Vereniki Tikoisolomone 2, Kieron Hussey, Semi Vodosese tries, Nick Harding pen, 3 con)
Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist 10 (Ashton Coates, Jack Yarral tries)
At Kaierau Country Club –
Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau 36 (Dylan Bowater, Jack van Bussel, Faatuatua Ezra, Dillon Adrole, Ethan Robinson tries, Robinson pen, 4 con)
McCarthy Transport Ruapehu 5 (Jonty Curtis try)
At Ngamatapouri Domain –
Byford’s Readimix Taihape 52 (Ben Whale 3, Tyler Rogers-Holden, Matt Brown, Tiari Mumby, Beau Walker tries, Tyrese Payne, Dane Whale 6 con),
Settlers Honey Ngamatapouri 7 (Joeli Tamantyara try, Brook Tremayne con)
|2021 Tasman Tanning PREMIER|
Senior championship, round 2 –
At Spriggens Park (Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield) –
Harvey Round Motors Ratana 30, Ali Arc Logistics-DNA Kennels Marist Celtic 3.
At Racecourse –
Kelso Hunterville 34, Black Bull Liquor Pirates 13
At Racecourse –
Bennett’s Taihape 19, Marist Buffalo’s 12.
At Kaierau Country Club –
Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau 33, Ruapehu 21. HT: 14-12 Ruapehu.
At Dallison Park, Waverley –
Border 25, Speirs Food Marton 5.
At McNab Domain, Kaiwhaiki –
Utiku OB 43. McCrea Scanning Counties 3. HT: 17-3.
|2021 Tasman Tanning Seniors|
|*All Standings are provisional|