Strong Whanganui Under 20’s side win HYC derby

By Jared Smith

The Summit Electrical Whanganui Under 20’s have made a strong start to the 2022 HYC Heartland Series with a 39-15 win over 2021 champions Horowhenua Kapiti U20 on Saturday.

Played as the curtain raiser to the Steelform Whanganui vs Taranaki Development XV game, in muddy conditions the hosts led 22-3 at halftime, ultimately out-scoring the visitors seven tries to two.

“We did well. At the start, I think we got a bit lucky – they dropped the ball a bit,” said coach Duane Brown.

“Things weren’t working too well for them, and we ended up countering a lot. A lot of our tries in that first half were from counter rugby.

“But we picked our shape up well, and the boys [showed] a lot of communication, fell into our shape, relied on our shape.

“Tackle was good, we kept putting points on, and ended 20 points up.”

Whanganui extended their advantage to 32-3, before losing a player to the sinbin for a professional foul, from which point they traded tries back and forth with Horowhenua Kapiti, who worked forward off tap kicks.

First-five Rangi Kui, who later slotted back into fullback when fellow playmaker Anthony Sellers had a bad leg cramp, scored a try and kicked two conversions.

Sellers also scored, while the team worked to winger Loma Ligavatu’s side for him to get a double.

Second five Jordan Turvey also dotted down, while the team got good service from a strong bench as reserve midfielder Lafo Takiari Ah Ching and backup halfback Petera Koro added their names to the score sheet – the latter going under the posts after the hosts turned over the kickoff from Horowhenua-Kapiti’s first try.

Whanganui will now see if they can secure the title in Palmerston North with back-to-back games this coming weekend against Wairarapa Bush and Poverty Bay U20 respectively.