Whanganui Metro Women put a century on Ashhurst Pohangina RFC

By Jared Smith

The St Johns Whanganui Metro didn’t have to wait another three seasons for their second MRU victory, but they had kind words for the group of women who were in their shoes just two seasons ago.

After their 34-15 victory over Wairarapa Wahine Toa the previous weekend, Metro faced the other new club to the Prue Christie Cup in the form of Ashhurst Pohangina RFC.

The result was a 102-0 dismantling at Spriggens Park.

Prop Lavenia Nauga-Grey said the visitors brought the bare XV with them, so Metro loaned them four players, who did their best to lift the rookies and keep them in the match.

Initially, individual Metro players had the ability to just dash off and get tries, but eventually the leaders managed to get everyone to strip it back to the basics and play team rugby.

Most of the forwards scored tries, which became the goal.

Among the standouts for Metro was lock Taina Nauga, with ball in hand and coming into contact.

“She broke plenty of lines and her defensive effort was amazing,” said Nauga-Grey.

After impressing off the bench in the previous game and in training during the week, Learna ‘Leez’ Nepia slotted into second-five and was again one of the standouts.

“She’s proven to be a threat with ball in hand.”

Nauga-Grey also singled out fullback Shanice Campbell for kicking well, and flanker Brianna Wallace settling into her new position.

“In previous weeks we had her out on the wing, for her to come to us and tell us she’s a forward.”

Originally set for the Metro bench, Rose McEwan joined Ashhurst and was one of their standouts.

Remembering how hard it was when Metro first started, with so many players either learning the game or refreshing themselves after a long absence, Nauga-Grey said they focused at the aftermatch on encouraging the visitors to keep building, so in 2-3 seasons they too will be competitive.

“We sort of just reassured Ashhurst that any new team is going to get a thumping like that.”

Metro’s back-to-back wins with bonus points has locked them into fourth spot on the ladder, but now comes the real test – facing a traditional MRU women’s team in Old Boys Marist RC (3-1).

Nauga-Grey said training this week will be fine tuning their structure, as Marist will not give up the gaps that Wairarapa and Ashhurst did.

The game will also be the end of Metro’s run of home fixtures, kicking off at 1pm at the Kaierau Country Club on Saturday.

After having their bye week, the St Johns Whanganui Metro Colts have their second game of their season, away to Bush SC at Bush Sports Park, kickoff 2.45pm.