Te Puke Sports is in the top position after the first round of the PGG Wrightson Baywide Rugby with a mistake riddled 37-20 win over Whakarewarewa in the weekend.
Playing in front of a parochial Whaka crowd at Puarenga Park, the visitors struggled to find any consistency in their back line play but out muscled Whaka in the lineout and at scrum time.
With both sides riddled with injury the first five minutes of the game looked like a season opener with the ball more resembling a cake of soap in a shower.
Te Puke coach Craig Jeffries says the team’s handling woes considering is understandable after he had to field four halfbacks; Andy Lee, Rumeka Pohapi, Jamie Nutbrown and Ryan Wilson in his starting XV.
"There’s about five [regulars] out of our backline. So we’re lucky to have numbers to fill the gaps."
It took Te Puke’s inform first-five, Nick McCashin to post the first points of the game after Whaka were penalised in the seventh minute for lifting a man past the horizontal, during the tackle.
Te Puke, with a strong southwesterly behind them, was soon back on attack and had Whaka pinned inside their half for the next 10 minutes.
But whenever the visitors looked dangerous, Whaka would stamp out any form of attack with aggressive defence.
However, Te Puke’s first try came from a Whaka throw in at the lineout. The ball was over thrown snapped up by openside flanker Luke Perrott, who promptly passed it out to an eager Beau King.
The hulking lock smashed the ball up the middle of the backline sucking in the defence to leave fullback Sipa Moimoi open on the flank for a casual run in to the left hand corner. McCashin converted the try for his team to take the lead 10-0.
Whaka were never going to lay down and submit to a team who have dominated the competition, so far this year and the home side soon bounced back with a drop goal to first-five Maurice Stone.
But they soon lost the service of their openside flanker Liam Coleman suffering a compound fracture of his left hand. Liam was eventually taken to Waikato Hospital for plastic surgery to the hand and is in a stable condition.
Whaka fullback Rawiri Tapiata scored the first of his and his team’s two tries after he latched on to a well worked move down the left flank to score under the post. Stone converted the try to level the score at 10-10.
It was the only time Whaka looked to threaten Te Puke’s lead and the visitors were soon back out in front when McCashin muscled over just before the break.
The former Steamer converted his own try and had his side leading 17-10 at halftime.
Whaka needed to start strongly in the second spell and hit the breakdown with more vigour than their opponents but the lineout was a nightmare for Whaka who struggled to get any quality ball.
Coach Kevin Lee says his forwards will need to step it up moving forward into the second round but he is still happy with the heart the team showed throughout the match.
Despite Whaka’s effort it was Te Puke, who were first to put points on the board thanks to the boot of McCashin who kicked two penalties before Stone could respond with his own penalty to bring the score to 23-13.
Whaka had the chance to nail another penalty in an identical spot but elected to kick for touch, with the team struggling to retain their own lineout it was no surprise when Te Puke snaffled the possession and send the ball out of their red zone.
As the game wore one Te Puke’s big forwards started to take its toll on the small Whaka pack. The visitors piled on two more tries to Jamie Nutbrown and Michael Hinaki both converted by McCashin before Whaka would score a consolation try to Tapiata. Stone converted the try to end the game 37-20.
In other matches around the region, Tauranga Sports managed to overcome a determined Rotoiti side at Emery Park 21-15. Te Puna continue their march up the table with a convincing 41-17 win over Waikite at Marama Park, Opotiki came out on top in a close tussle with Mount Maunganui 15-6 and Rangataua grab their first win of the season in a nail bitter 35-27 over Greerton Marist.
In division one, Paroa’s 35-10 win over Poroporo keeps them at the top of the table along with Rangiuru, who narrowly beat Ngongotaha 22-18, Te Teko came away with a close 16-13 win over Marist St Michaels, Kahukura were too strong for Ruatoki 41-15 and Whakatane Marist beat Reporoa 36-24.
In the colts Mount Maunganui show the are still the team to beat when they smash Kahukura 122-5, Te Puke Sports were equally impressive with a 114-0 drubbing of Rotoiti, Waikite beat Whakarewarewa 22-19, Rangataua narrowly beat Marist St Michaels 8-3 and Tauranga Sports took out a close contest with Greerton Marist 33-32.
PGG Wrightson Baywide Rugby results for May 12 2012
Premier One: Tauranga Sports 21 Rotoiti 15, Opotiki 15 Mount Maunganui 6, Te Puna 41 Waikite 17, Rangataua 35 Greerton Marist 27, Te Puke Sport 37 Whakarewarewa 20.
Division One: Kahukura 41 Ruatoki 15, Rangiuru 22 Ngongotaha 18, Whakatane Marist 36 Reporoa 24, Te Teko 16 Marist St Michaels 13, Paroa 35 Poroporo 10.
Colts: Rangataua 8 Marist St Michaels 3, Tauranga Sports 33 Greerton Marist 32, Te Puna 25 Ruatoki 3, Te Puke Sports 114 Rotoiti 0, Mount Maunganui 122 Kahukura 5, Waikite 22 Whakarewarewa 19, Opotiki bye.
Scorers: Te Puke 37 (S Moimoi, N McCashin, J Nutbrown, M Hinaki tries; N McCashin 4 cons, 3 pen) Whakarewarewa 20 (R Tapiata 2 tries; M Stone 1 drop goal, 2 cons, 1 pen) Halftime: 17-10.
Opotiki 15 (M Pene, D Collier tries; S Howe 1 pen, 1 con) Mount Maunganui 9 (M Golding 2 pen, 1 drop goal).
Rangataua 35 (T Gardiner 2, R Voullaite, R Protack tries; D Ishimori 3 pen, 3 con) Greerton Marist 27 (B Tristram 2, R Nauer tires; B Tristram 2 pen, 3 con)