Metro Colts flying high after Massey mauling

By Jared Smith

The job this week for coaches Mark Cosford and Russell Gedye will be keeping the feet of their St Johns Whanganui Metro Colts firmly on the ground after the 76-0 demolition of Massey University RFC on Saturday.

The second game of a Cooks Gardens double header, with the scoreline reported in the Manawatu RU results on Sunday being incorrect, Metro led 33-0 at halftime and carried on their dominance.

While Massey brought enough players for a small bench, they lacked for specialist front rowers, meaning the entire match was played with golden oldies scrums.

Taking that part of the set piece out of game was frustrating for Metro, who wanted to utilise their strong props like 2018 Colts title-winner Emanual Savage and judo exponent Keightley Watson  – giving them a workout for bigger games to come.

“It’s a bit of a disappointment when you’re got a really good scrum,” said Cosford.

“We just started out ticking off the tries.

“When you go to Manawatu, they try to dominate the forward game, and we try to get the ball wider – so that’s one of the work-on’s.

“[Second half], the target was to get our defensive line right and be strong over the ball, stop them with counter rucking.”

A lot of the stronger MRU sides prefer to attack one off the ruck, running a constant halfback-and-carry style offence, and Metro feel they now have the muscle up front to test them in those channels in 2021.

But playing their regular fast pace style, Metro’s score quickly mounted as winger Joey Devine made a 31 point haul from a hat trick of tries and eight conversions.

Jack O’Leary made his return after missing last week and scored a double, as did Watson to make up for the lack of scrum work.

Cosford was pleased with the effort of No 8 Lewis Young, who was perpetual motion as a support player.

“That’s what we tell the young guys. He was rewarded with two tries from good backing up.”

Leading the MRU Colts points table with a 3-0-1 record and four bonus points, Metro are expecting a much stronger test from fourth placed Old Boys Marist RC (1-1-1), who had a draw with undefeated defending champions the Feilding Yellows (2-2-0) a fortnight ago.

“There’s one thing me and Russ do, and that’s put their feet back down quickly,” said Cosford.

That game is scheduled for a 12.45pm kickoff at the Whanganui Collegiate grounds.

And the Metro Women’s team will have one last chance to qualify for the semifinals of their short season in a fortnight’s time when they meet likewise winless Bush SC away.

Metro’s second-to-last match as a heavy 54-10 loss to Massey University RFC Varsity at Cooks Gardens on Saturday.

The team managed two tries, but used an untried backline and continued to have injuries, including their current captain before the game.

“The girls did as well as they can do. But they’re girls playing like girls in a senior women’s competition,” said coach Tama Te Patu.

“These are Black Ferns, and Manawatu rep players [against us].

“They have 12 [good] players carrying three; we have it the other way around.

“It’s hard to have someone to bring them together on the field. Not a lot of experience out there, most of our senior girls are on the sideline.”

An old school style of coach, Te Patu said the squad is getting newcomers every week, so numbers is not the issue, but basic understanding of the game’s fundamentals is.

“They haven’t ‘come through the grades’, so they’re learning things that players learn at primary and secondary school.”

Now on their bye week, Te Patu will look to use these and next week’s training sessions to work further on the basics, although he is after more engagement and quicker understanding from the players, and less of the “social gathering”.

Metro will still look to organise more matches after the short MRU season finishes.

“That’s what they need – time on the field. I just hope the girls persevere.”