Wellington opponents too strong for Whanganui Development XV

By Jared Smith

It was hard to pick themselves up off the deck from the week before, but the most committed of the Whanganui Development XV gave it at crack in a 58-24 loss to Wellington Under 19 in Tawa on Saturday.

After the hammering by the Wellington Centurions at the Kaierau Country Club, and with Steelform Whanganui going in the opposite direction to Taupo, coach Cole Baldwin did not have a big squad to take down State Highway’s 3 and 1.

“The guys that went out there did their best,” he said.

“We were hanging in there until about halftime, but couldn’t quite keep up with the pace of the game in the second half.”

At Lyndhurst Park, Wellington scored right on halftime to extend their advantage to 28-17, and Whanganui could not recover.

It is a very strong home side that had dominated the Central Region U19/20 Shield, including against the Heartland Hurricanes.

“They’ve got a lot of talent down in that area,” said Baldwin.

For Whanganui, Tyrone Albert scored two tries and kicked a conversion, while Phoenix Kairimu also dotted down.

Jack O’Leary scored his 32nd try of the season – 28 for St John’s Whanganui Metro in the MRU Colts grade and four in the Development XV games – plus added a conversion.

This concluded the Development XV’s much disrupted campaign – they had only one week of training before the Level 4 lockdowns, and planned games against Poverty Bay Turanga, Wellington Samoans, and Wairarapa Bush Maori were scrapped.

After Level 2 saw training resume, they went 2-2 from their matches – beating previously scheduled King Country Development and new opponent Thames Valley Emerging Players, and then the losses to fellow new opponent Centurions and the re-scheduled Wellington U19.

“The first two we had to win, the other two were always a bit tougher,” said Baldwin.

“The guys can enjoy their offseason, or be ready for the Heartland side.”


WOMEN: An under-strength Whanganui Women’s team did their best in Masterton in a 62-15 loss to Wairarapa Bush on Saturday. With their Under 18’s squad playing in Taupo, Whanganui had a very light bench and borrowed a couple of home players late in the piece. Down 55-0, they scored three of the last four tries, including a length of the field effort from fullback Shyna Tipu, and then hooker Kimberley Hunt grabbed a double. Her first try was from toeing through a dropped pass, and the second came after superb lead-up work from No8 Olive Faumuina, Tipu and lock Jaydah Sutcliffe.