Whanganui Women kick rep season off with win
By Jared Smith
Over a month and a half without competitive rugby proved no detriment to the Whanganui Women’s team, who picked up a 39-25 win over Wellington Development Women on Saturday.
The representative side is predominately the same squad as played for St Johns Whanganui Metro in the MRU’s Prue Christie Cup club season.
Playing at the Kaierau Country Club in their first game since June 11, Whanganui trailed at halftime but dug deep to cut down the visitors attacking opportunities and work their way in front.
“At halftime we just focused on our defence patterns. We talked about making sure that we come up quickly – especially the outside backs – creating an umbrella effect and that sort of choked them down,” said coach Jason Liddle.
“Offensively, we were already playing well, so we just stuck at that and wore them down, and came back in the second half.
“They kept them try-less in the second half for the first 30 minutes, and there was at least four minutes where they were defending on their own line.
“Wellington was just picking and going, picking and going, and we just kept them out and forced them into an error.”
First-five Rebecca Tamati had an excellent match, taking control of the backline and delivery some great passes while utilising her step.
“We’ve only really been training for the last two weeks, and we’ve had mixed numbers,” said Liddle.
“But I think this result is inspiring them to strive and improve, and get ready for the next games.”
METRO: St Johns Whanganui Metro got their must-win MRU Colts championship group win over Te Kawau RFC without taking the field on Saturday. Unable to make the semifinals, Te Kawau defaulted their away game to Metro.
COLLEGIATE: After three seasons of making the CNI championship semifinals, Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV will have to settle for the plate playoffs after a 36-12 loss at home to rivals Feilding High on Saturday. Coming into the last round robin game in fifth, Collegiate needed a bonus point win while hoping other results went their way to secure fourth. They will host Francis Douglas Memorial College in their plate semifinal on Saturday.
CYCLONES: The Manawatu Cyclones including Whanganui’s former Black Ferm Sosoli Talawadua and expats like Mia Maraku, Hollyrae Mete and Pounamu Wharehinga currently sit bottom of the Farah Palmer Cup’s Premiership after three competitive losses. Manawatu lost to Waikato 33-24, Bay of Plenty 37-26, and then on Saturday to Counties 19-13.
CAMERON: Whanganui’s one-test All Black and former Crusader Brett Cameron has been confirmed as joining the Hurricanes on a two year Super Rugby contract. Cameron’s Bunnings Warehouse NPC campaign with the Manawatu Turbos will kick off against his old team Canterbury this Friday.